Making Street Cars Comfortable

Remember a couple years ago when the MTA announced they would be experimenting with standing room only subway cars during rush hour? Well, 100 years ago, an inventor pitched that very idea to a reporter at the Times Magazine.

“For example I have what I call the Rush-hour car. This pattern is without seats, but has a very liberal supply of straps for the comfort and convenience of passengers. In each of these cars the maximum load will be carried and they will be quite as comfortable to the standees as the ordinary seat-car is, if not more so, as each passenger will know and feel that he has as good accommodations as any other passenger.

“It is probable that only men will ride in them, but that will be an advantage rather than otherwise, for when the men have been carried away from congested points the ladies will have some chance to get seats in other cars.”

His other ideas include a telescoping subway car that extends during rush hour, a rubber car that stretches when overfilled, and a triple-decker subway car that requires passengers be stooped over because each level is too short to stand up straight in. Maybe the MTA will give those ideas a try.


From October 9, 1910

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