The next phase of BART's Fleet of the Future has arrived and designers from BMW Group Designworks USA unveiled yesterday their concepts for potential replacements to the barfy, 40-year-old fleet. After the transit agency held a series of seating labs to gather input, the general consensus seemed to be "cloth seats are gross." Thus, we're given three possible interior designs - all very wipe-down friendly - and ready to receive input from the riding public.
The new concepts (pictured above) aren't so much forward-thinking as they are an effort to bring the fleet out of a 70s-era vision of the future and up to speed with the 21st century. Personally, we kind of like the "informal, open-style lounge seating" of Concept B, just because it sounds like a nice utopian vision of the future where every semi-public space feels like a nightclub. But we're also kind always wary of any sort of seating arrangement that forces us to face another human being.
We are losing one thing by doing away with the cloth seats, however: As BART spokesperson Linton Johnson told reporters, the fabric was actually, "very hard to vandalize because the material is so durable." (We imagine he means they're hard to vandalize by ripping/scratching/tearing and not, say - marking up with a sharpie pen.)
Drawings and renderings of three concepts will be making another tour of the Bay Area so you, long-suffering BART commuter, can give your input at Open Houses staged at various BART stations starting this Thursday. There's also a handy feedback form so you can do it from the comfort of your own desk.
If you prefer to float ghost-like through the futuristic BART trains, check out the new-agey video tour which also drops some hints about the new exterior look: