Metro Tests New Hues for More Colorful Commute

Wednesday, December 10, 2008; Page B02

Tired of those orange and brown seats on older Metro trains? Confused by the blue, burgundy and yellow seats on newer trains? Metro is putting even more colors and fabrics into the mix. For the next six months, the agency will be testing five different wool fabric seats in some new rail cars. Two designs are blue, one is red, one is gray with colored swirls, and one is blue with a balls and seals design.

Based on rider feedback, durability and ease of cleaning of the stain-resistant, vandal-resistant fabric, the transit agency will pick one to go in the next generation of rail cars, starting with those slated for the Dulles extension. (But it will be at least five years before those cars roll onto the tracks.)

Eventually, Metro rail chief Dave Kubicek hopes to have one standard color for the entire fleet.

Since Metrorail's inception in 1976, the cushions have been orange and brown naugahyde. In 2001, after color experts weighed in, the Metro board chose three colors (one for each jurisdiction), for newer trains: Potomac blue, Chesapeake sand and Colonial burgundy.

Kubicek says Metro can save money on maintenance by switching to one standard cushion.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company