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NJ Transit Widening Seats On New Double Decker Train Cars

Obesity

First Posted: 01/17/12 11:31 AM ET Updated: 01/17/12 11:31 AM ET

New Jersey Transit passengers with increasing waistlines can find respite in a new plan to install 100 double decker trains equipped with 2.5 inches in extra width.

The current 17.55 inch seats have apparently caused problems for widening passengers, as commuters struggle to wiggle their way into comfort.

The New York Times spoke to one passenger, 39-year old Sandra Lee who favored the new design because she "happens to be hippy."

The new design will make seats "comfortable for riders ranging from a woman in the 5th percentile to a man in the 95th percentile." The double decker buses will also eliminate the use of three seats on the sides of aisles by replacing them with two seats.

New Jersey's plans align with a troubling trend for mass transit throughout the country, as more transportation agencies struggle to accomodate obese passengers.

The news follows the Federal Transit Administration's decision in 2011 to increase the average passenger weight from 150 pounds to 175. In addition, standing passengers will see increased floor space of 1.5 to 1.75 square feet allotted for each individual.

The adjustment came under fire for accommodating to the nation's obesity problem at the risk of other passengers. But many contend that such changes are necessary "to acknowledge the expanding girth of the average passenger." Joseph Schwieterman of DePaul University said:

This change is really just a bow to reality. With no small number of bus passengers tipping the scale at 200 pounds or more, this is much more realistic.

Groups including the New Jersey Future have come out to support alternative transportation methods to promote healthier living by encouraging local communities to prioritize making walking and biking safer choices for transportation.


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Filed by Inae Oh  |