The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in the US has introduced the initial five subway cars belonging to the R211 fleet for qualification testing.

During the upcoming weeks, MTA will carry out the testing on the R211 subway cars, which are expected to commence passenger services on selected lines in summer of next year.

They comprise 58-inch door spans that are eight inches broader than standard doors on current subway cars.

With the expanded doors’ design, the cars will be able to operate faster due to the reduced delays and a quicker boarding process.

The cars feature enhanced bonnet design, brighter lighting and signage, and digital displays for providing real-time information regarding service and stations.

MTA noted that the new R211 subway cars have been introduced under a $6.1bn investment covered in its current capital strategy.

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By GlobalData

The complete order of R211 includes 535 subway cars.

Furthermore, the contract covers options for an additional 1,500 cars that New York City Transit Authority (NYCT) may exercise in the future.

Under a pilot programme, around 20 of the additional upcoming R211 cars will have an open gangway situated towards the end of the cars.

With accordion-like walls, this open design will enable commuters to move between cars to minimise crowding and dispensing passenger loads evenly.

MTA Construction and Development president Janno Lieber said: “They are a vital element of our historic Capital Plan that is continuing to pick up steam as we begin to emerge from the pandemic.

“In addition to giving riders a more modern passenger experience, they’re also essential to the re-signalling initiatives already underway that will allow us to increase capacity by running more trains, and providing more frequent service.”

In March this year, MTA introduced a new feature on its Live Subway Map, helping the commuters to easily locate the nearest Covid-19 vaccination sites.