You can’t accuse the Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) of staying still. They have just started testing new train seats and a new system of exit signs for metro stops.
The purpose of the seats is to find something cheaper and longer lasting that meets with public approval. The new plastic seats are in the third car of one of the trains in use on Metro C, the red line.
The same train has already been testing a different type of seat since last year in the second car, and the rest of the train has standard seats. After the trials are completed, the most satisfactory seats will be permanently used in all M1 type trains.
Siemens, which provides maintenance for M1 metro vehicles on the C line, in cooperation with DPP has started to use a new seat type from Italian company Ruspa, whose products are used in many kinds of public transport vehicles around the world.
Seats for the Prague metro were installed in two versions: in the front of the car there are seats without handrails on the backrest, in the back of the car there are seats with handrails.
“The new plastic seats are deliberately used in the same train where we are testing a different type of laminated seat, so that we can compare their wear, maintenance, repair, et cetera in one train, including to the original ones. We will test this composition for at least a year,” metro vehicle management chief Jaroslav Kristen said.
The seats will be changed as part of a planned overhaul of trains that have been in service for 20 years. The gradual overhaul will be launched in August and take four to five years to complete.
Maintenance for the plastic laminated seats will be cheaper easier than it is for upholstered seats, as they won’t have to be removed for chemical cleaning. The material should also last longer.
The new exit signs in some metro stops will give names to individual exits, according to the same logic as for exits on motorways. DPP in cooperation with transit organizer ROPID are trying to see if this makes it easier for people to navigate through the system.
Metro station Nádraží Holešovice was the first to get the new signs, followed by I.P Pavlova and Náměstí Míru.
Testing will determine whether the new designations will be installed in all 61 metro stations. The exit numbers will then be added to the links for search engines. There are more than 300 exits in the Prague metro system. The record holder is the Můstek station, from which there are 17 exits.
“We were thinking about how to make Prague metro travel more pleasant, and what would make it easier for passengers to orient themselves and save them time. Foreign tourists often hesitate to get the right exit, especially if they continue with surface public transport,” DPP director Jiří Černík said.
“In order to make it easier for everyone in today’s fast world to navigate, we have upgraded the navigation system and added numbers. We were inspired from abroad, but also by the numbering of motorway exits. It is easier for the driver to remember that he has to go to exit 14, than it is to remember Beroun – East, Center or West. The same logic is in the numbering of the metro exits. … We firmly believe that the numbering of the exits will work the same way in the metro and it will help passengers,” he added.
ROPID director Petr Tomčík also praised the new signs for adding more clarity. “This is the first in a series of suggestions for improvements that we will soon be presenting to the public. Our goal is not only to improve clarity in public transport, but also to link individual types of mobility with each other and … to better interconnect public transport with railways,” he said.
The numbering of the exits is always from the perspective of the passenger leaving the metro. The numbering always starts with E1, with E coming from “exit” in English. The symbol E1 marks the first exit in the vestibule at the far right, the other exits are numbered in a counterclockwise direction.
Exit numbers are also marked on new orientation maps of the subway station area, which passengers will find in classic yellow display cases on platforms and in the metro vestibule.
“We will install the navigation as part of a planned change. The present boards are beyond their lifetime. Therefore, the replacement does not represent any extra costs,” DPP’s Černík said.
During this summer holiday, DPP plans to conduct a survey among passengers online and over social media. After evaluation, it plans to install the new system in the remaining metro stations.
The final form of the navigation system will be designed through a competition as part of a project to unify and integrate signs across the city.