Here's the dirt on those "fuzzy flocked seats"
As you can imagine, that sparked lots of not-so-fond memories -- 75 of them at last count.
All the rancid recollections there sparked Paula to wonder there and in an email to me "who was the idiot was at the CTA who thought [it would be a good idea to change] the seats from hard molded plastic (easy to clean) seats to the fuzzy flocked seats (hides stuff until you sit in it) that we have now."
I asked a new CTA Insider that question. He told me in an email he's worked at the CTA for more than 20 years, the last 12 or so in management.
Click below for his answer.
"The idiot in question would be former Chairman Valerie Jarrett. She was the one who started the program of installing the seat inserts. The main reason was just for cosmetics -- in her opinion it looked nicer. Other reasons included vandalism prevention -- the hard shell plastic seats were always being etched and the inserts are virtually vandal proof. Also, CTA was the only system left with those hard plastic seats and the inserts were supposed to be more comfortable.
"What did she NOT consider? As you pointed out, sitting on a wet seat. I personally have developed a habit of touching the seat before I sit on it. I would rather have to wash my hands than walk around in wet pants all day. She didn't consider the maintenance time and energy it takes to replace an insert -- in some cases the entire seat (depending on factors such as location and car series) has to be taken apart to replace the goofy insert.
"The CTA is embarking on a new cleaning program for the inserts using a type of wet / dry vacuum system. Each car will take about four to six hours to clean the inserts. Once a good thorough cleaning is done, the amount of time will be cut down and they will be done on a regular basis."
So there you have it!