New seats, signs being tested in the Prague metro

Changes to metro signs should make navigation easier, while the new seats will be cheaper to maintain

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 25.07.2019 12:07:36 (updated on 25.07.2019) Reading time: 4 minutes

You can’t accuse the Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) of staying still. They have just started testing new train seats and a new system of exit signs for metro stops.

The purpose of the
seats is to find something cheaper and longer lasting that meets with
public approval. The new plastic seats are in the third car of one of
the trains in use on Metro C, the red line.

The same train has
already been testing a different type of seat since last year in the
second car, and the rest of the train has standard seats. After the
trials are completed, the most satisfactory seats will be permanently
used in all M1 type trains.

Siemens, which
provides maintenance for M1 metro vehicles on the C line, in
cooperation with DPP has started to use a new seat type from Italian
company Ruspa, whose products are used in many kinds of public
transport vehicles around the world.

metro seats 03
Seat variation with handrails. via DPP

Seats for the Prague
metro were installed in two versions: in the front of the car there
are seats without handrails on the backrest, in the back of the car
there are seats with handrails.

“The new plastic
seats are deliberately used in the same train where we are testing a
different type of laminated seat, so that we can compare their wear,
maintenance, repair, et cetera in one train, including to the
original ones. We will test this composition for at least a year,”
metro vehicle management chief Jaroslav Kristen said.

The seats will be
changed as part of a planned overhaul of trains that have been in
service for 20 years. The gradual overhaul will be launched in August
and take four to five years to complete.

Maintenance for the
plastic laminated seats will be cheaper easier than it is for
upholstered seats, as they won’t have to be removed for chemical
cleaning. The material should also last longer.

metro sign 05
Original and new metro signs. via DPP

The new exit signs
in some metro stops will give names to individual exits, according to
the same logic as for exits on motorways. DPP in cooperation with
transit organizer ROPID are trying to see if this makes it easier for
people to navigate through the system.

Metro station
Nádraží Holešovice was the first to get the new signs, followed
by I.P Pavlova and Náměstí Míru.

Testing will
determine whether the new designations will be installed in all 61
metro stations. The exit numbers will then be added to the links for
search engines. There are more than 300 exits in the Prague metro
system. The record holder is the Můstek station, from which there
are 17 exits.

metro sign 03
New metro sign. via DPP

“We were thinking
about how to make Prague metro travel more pleasant, and what would
make it easier for passengers to orient themselves and save them
time. Foreign tourists often hesitate to get the right exit,
especially if they continue with surface public transport,” DPP
director Jiří Černík said.

“In order to make
it easier for everyone in today’s fast world to navigate, we have
upgraded the navigation system and added numbers. We were inspired
from abroad, but also by the numbering of motorway exits. It is
easier for the driver to remember that he has to go to exit 14, than
it is to remember Beroun – East, Center or West. The same logic is in
the numbering of the metro exits. … We firmly believe that the
numbering of the exits will work the same way in the metro and it
will help passengers,” he added.

ROPID director Petr
Tomčík also praised the new signs for adding more clarity. “This
is the first in a series of suggestions for improvements that we will
soon be presenting to the public. Our goal is not only to improve
clarity in public transport, but also to link individual types of
mobility with each other and … to better interconnect public
transport with railways,” he said.

metro sign 02
New metro exit sign. via DPP

The numbering of the
exits is always from the perspective of the passenger leaving the
metro. The numbering always starts with E1, with E coming from “exit”
in English. The symbol E1 marks the first exit in the vestibule at
the far right, the other exits are numbered in a counterclockwise
direction.

Exit numbers are
also marked on new orientation maps of the subway station area, which
passengers will find in classic yellow display cases on platforms and
in the metro vestibule.

“We will install
the navigation as part of a planned change. The present boards are
beyond their lifetime. Therefore, the replacement does not represent
any extra costs,” DPP’s Černík said.

metro sign 04
New metro exit sign. via DPP

During this summer
holiday, DPP plans to conduct a survey among passengers online and
over social media. After evaluation, it plans to install the new
system in the remaining metro stations.

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The final form of
the navigation system will be designed through a competition as part
of a project to unify and integrate signs across the city.

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