TCAT invites passengers to weigh in on different set demo seats

Since August, passengers on the TCAT Bus No. 1118 have noticed two rows of seats that look out of place. Now there are three sets of seats from a different manufacturer that also look different from the rest on the very same bus.

TCAT Interim Maintenance Manager Jim Caco’s team recently installed state-of-the-art seats, manufactured by Chicago-based USSC/ Freedman, for riders to test out and give TCAT their feedback. The seats will be on the bus, a 2011 Gillig, for passengers to try out through year’s end, said Caco, shown above testing out the seats.

As reported earlier, all TCAT buses, including No. 1118, are rotated into service among many of TCAT’s 33 routes and Caco hopes passengers using urban, campus and rural routes, will have the opportunity to “take a seat” on the test seats and voice their opinions. Passengers can provide feedback by emailing TCAT at tcat@tcatmail.com or call and leave a message at (607) 277-9388, ext. 560.

The previous demo seating was manufactured by Michigan-based American Seating Co. The recently installed seats, called “40NE Gemini” are described by their manufacture as “ultra-lightweight passenger transit seats.” As with American Seating, the USSC seats are much lighter and will save on fuel costs. Or, as Caco said earlier: “It would be like noticing that your car is lagging, the gas in your tank is being depleted at a faster rate and then remembering that you have a 100-pound bag of dog food in your trunk.”

The three sets of USSC demo seats are “engineered for maximum seating capacity, safety and longevity” and are economically designed. The seats are made from injection molded plastic and are ergonomically designed for increased hip to knee room, greater shoulder/back support, overall increased comfort and a modern look, said Rachel Pereira, USSC Northeast Regional Sales Manager. She said they are manufactured in the United States (Chicago.)

If a passenger gets sick or a seat is otherwise soiled, buses with the heavier-framed cushioned seating must be taken out of service and professionally cleaned and dried, which takes several hours, Caco said. That process puts a strain on service, especially during rush hour when the majority of the fleet is needed to fulfill service, he said.

If TCAT decides to go with either of the new seating, they would be installed “by attrition” in any new buses TCAT purchases in the future. TCAT recently ordered 10 new buses, which will take up to 18 months to manufacture. Caco added that if TCAT opts for the seating, the agency could also consider adding USB ports on the backs of the seats so passengers will be able to charge their cell phones, laptops and other mobile devices.