Skip to main content

MTS Unveils Its Newest Trolley Car

MTS staff and board members along with Siemens employees pose for a photo out...

Photo by Matt Hoffman

Above: MTS staff and board members along with Siemens employees pose for a photo outside the latest generation trolley, April 17, 2019.

The Metropolitan Transit System said the new trolley cars are all about improving the rider experience.

The first thing riders might notice is the aisles have more space—which will allow wheelchairs, strollers and bikes to move through more easily.

The new trolley cars do not have cloth seats, they have vinyl ones.

"Easier to clean—easier to see if there’s some kind of spill or stain on the seat," said MTS CEO Paul Jablonski. "We’ve listened to our customers. You see people when they go up they rub the seat to see if it’s wet or anything because you can’t see with cloth. This you can see right away."

MTS Unveils It's Newest Trolley Car

MTS is in the process of swapping out cloth seats for vinyl seats in all of its cars. The transit system has had five trolley car updates. The fifth generation cars allow wheelchairs to get on quicker.

"The accessibility from these cars to the old cars is huge," Jablonski said. "Four wheelchairs at a time can get on one car because we have four accessible doors. Those old-style trolleys—the operator had to get out of the seat, open the door, lower a lift, put the wheelchair on a lift and bring it up. And then we could only hold two or three on the whole train."

RELATED: MTS Polling Finds 2020 Tax Measure Within Reach

Forty-five of the new cars have been ordered, and MTS will slowly phase them in. The first three hit the rails this weekend and you can expect to see them on the tracks for quite a while.

"I think this will be around for at least 30 years," Jablonski said. "So it’s going to be a long time."

The new cars will start service on the Blue Line, then expand to the Orange Line. The trolley cars are made by Siemens who has provided all the light rail vehicles for MTS since the 1981.

The Metropolitan Transit System has had five trolley car updates and MTS unveiled it's newest model Wednesday. It will go into service starting this weekend.

You can hear this story and other local news every morning by subscribing to San Diego News Matters, KPBS’ daily news podcast. Subscribe via iTunes, Google Play or your favorite podcatcher.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.