Look closely, Metro riders. Older railcars meant to feel like newer ones have hit the rails as part of the agency’s latest trial program.
Two of Metro’s decade-old 6000-series railcars have been given a facelift. They closely resemble Metro’s new 7000-series cars, even though they are not.
“Our customers told us they like the cleaner, sleeker look,” said WMATA Spokesperson Sherry Ly on the new pilot program that will soon expand to 12 cars.
“It’s not new, but it’s better than the old,” said Angela Pitts, who rode one of the cars Thursday on her daily commute from Baltimore. “I appreciate that they’re trying since the old ones have carpet so gross that I don’t want to walk on it.”
Overhauled cars have no carpet and seats have been reupholstered. Cars have also been wrapped in vinyl for a sleeker look. Metro said that saves money and is better on the environment, but critics said it’s like putting lipstick on a pig.
“A pig with lipstick looks better than a pig without lipstick,” said Pitts.
Metro said wrapping each car costs $4,776. But if cars were re-painted, Metro said that would cost $14,055 per car.
Metro added that the vinyl wrap allows the agency to use environmentally safe chemicals to clean the railcars, which can also benefit employees. The original aluminum surface requires harsher chemicals that are treated prior to discharge to the sanitary sewer, the agency said.
This trial run will see if the vinyl can stand up to the elements. The first two cars are running on Metro’s Green Line.