Metro News Release

For immediate release: August 21, 2008

Metro testing new overhead handles inside Metrorail cars

Metro is testing several different styles of overhead handles in its rail fleet to give customers who are standing in the aisles something to hold onto for balance and comfort.

new handle picture “Giving our riders a convenient handle that they can reach easily will improve the comfort and safety of their ride,” explained Christopher Zimmerman, Metro Board Chairman. “Plus it puts an overhead handle within reach of more of our riders. The overhead railings, which have always been there, are not accessible to many of our riders due to the height of the bars. These new handles make holding on a simple, more comfortable option.”

Two handle designs are made of nylon fabric and a third is made of stainless steel. Next month, Metro officials will select which style of overhead handle will be installed on 25 percent of the rail cars, or about 300 rail cars by the end of the year.

The three styles of nylon handles hang down 10 to 12 inches. They are being tested on rail cars 1122, 1123, 1126, 1127, 3034, 3035, 3094 and 3095.

Metro installed spring-loaded stainless steel handles on 40 of its newest 6000 series rail cars as an initial pilot program in 2007. In those cars, 20 handles are evenly distributed along the overhead grab bars in each car. When pulled down for use, the handles are eight inches lower than the existing ceiling-mounted grab bars. This feature allows shorter customers to have an easier time holding onto an overhead mounted hand rail. Metro expects to have its entire fleet of series 6000 rail cars outfitted with the stainless steel handrails by the end of the calendar year.

“We’re looking at how these different handles hold up under everyday use,” explained Dave Kubicek, Metro’s Assistant General Manager for Metrorail. “It’s a helpful feature that we think customers will grab onto!”

Introducing overhead handles is part of Metro’s effort to improve passenger flow and customer reliability aboard the Metrorail fleet. In addition to the overhead handles, Metro is testing four different styles of resilient floors inside its new series 6000 rail cars as the transit authority looks at ways to reduce costs and improve customer service.

Click here to view a video of some handles that are being considered.

various handles that are being considered

News release issued at 4:23 pm, August 21, 2008.