(Credit: CTA)

(Credit: CTA)

CHICAGO (CBS) — Acting on rider complaints, the CTA on Friday released the proposed seating configuration it will provide to manufacturers bidding on its next generation of ‘L’ cars.

One major change: It brings back at least some forward-facing seating after complaints from riders using the new 5000 series cars, WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports.

The diagrams released by CTA provide for 20 forward-facing seats per car in the 7000 series.

The front of the car would offer aisle-facing seats to maximize standing space.

The middle of the car would be a mix of forward-facing and aisle-facing seats and seat pairs.

The rear of the car would include rows of forward-facing seat pairs in the area designers believe will be least likely to impede passenger flow.

Each car would have space for two wheelchairs.

As designed, the rail car configuration could include poles that are offset as well as straps for standing passengers on each side of the aisle.

Designers said the offset design will decrease the chances of passengers standing back-to-back and inadvertently blocking the aisle.

The new design would have as many as 38 seats, compared with 38 to 46 seats on other CTA rail cars.

The proposed configuration would be 53 percent forward-facing and 47 percent aisle-facing.

Not all riders dislike the 5000-series “bowling alley” configuration. Some consider the cars safer because there is no one standing behind them.

But others have complained that the bowling alley configuration prompts riders to inadvertently step on the feet of those who are seated and that riders are subjected to views of riders’ buttocks and crotches when trains are crowded.

Bids from potential manufacturers were due in October, and CTA expects to select a winning bid by January 2014.

It intends to begin delivery of the 7000 series cars in 2016, following completion of the 5000-series deliveries from Bombardier.

CTA is anticipating a total cost of up to $2 billion for the order, which could total as many as 846 cars and take 10 years to deliver.

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