Metro News Release

For immediate release: November 17, 2008

Spring-loaded overhead handles installed on series 6000 Metrorail fleet

Stainless steel-grab bars now installed on all 184 rail cars

Metro’s newest rail cars are now fully equipped with spring-loaded overhead handles to give shorter riders who are standing in the aisles something to hold onto for balance and comfort.

Twenty spring-loaded stainless handles have been evenly distributed along the overhead grab bars on all 184 of Metro’s Series 6000 rail cars. When pivoted down, the handles are eight inches lower than the existing ceiling-mounted grab bars. This feature allows riders to have an easier time holding onto an overhead mounted hand rail.

“These new hand-holds will make a big difference for our riders because it will help provide them with a more comfortable ride even when they are in a crowded train and find themselves standing in the aisle," said Metro Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman, who has long been an advocate for the installation of overhead hand-holds. “This is a good first step. I look forward to seeing other railcars in our fleet outfitted similarly.”

During the pilot program last year, cameras were installed to record passenger movements so Metro officials could determine how customers were using the new handles.

The 6000 Series rail cars, introduced in the fall of 2006, include a double row of handrails along the entire ceiling, seat-back to ceiling poles installed along the aisles, interior electronic next station signs at front, center, and rear of car that indicates line color and door opening side, and an emergency call box station located at the center of the car.

Introducing spring-loaded handles last year was part of an effort to improve passenger flow aboard Metrorail cars. In addition to the stainless steel overhead handles, Metro is also installing nylon grab handles on up to 300 rail cars. Full installation of the nylon handles is expected by the end of the calendar year.

News release issued at 9:42 am, November 17, 2008.