DC residents get look at new metro cars

As in most big cities in the U.S., public transportation plays an important role in the District's economic and social spheres. Commuters rely on it for transportation to and from work, tourists depend on it to see the city's famous landmarks and young residents use it to tap into the metro's rich entertainment offerings. Because of this, any upgrades to the city's extensive subway system are important for residents and people considering buying one of the houses for sale in Washington, DC, to keep up with.

That's why, in early October, when the city announced a new line of cars for a section of the metro system, there was much discussion among residents and local officials. DC's subway system is the second busiest in the country and the changes, which are scheduled to go into effect by 2014, represent the most substantial upgrade since the system opened in the late 1970s, according to The Associated Press.

"This is Washington Metro entering the 21st century," said Metro general manager Richard Sarles, according to the news source.

So, what are the changes? Essentially, the metro's cars have been modernized to improve convenience, safety, comfort and technology. New bullet seats are intended to give a smoother ride, while digital screens will keep riders informed of upcoming stops and delays.

To give residents a glimpse at the new cars, city officials held a tour and demonstration. In addition to the seats and screens, viewers were clued into other changes aimed at an improved ride. Wider aisles, non-slip floors and, perhaps most praised of all, a clear, audible address system that will improve riders' experiences, according to CBS.

Those who have been anxiously waiting for details about the new cars seemed to be mostly pleased by the demonstration. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, who is a frequent rider, said he was satisfied by the improvements.

"This is what we wanted to see," he said, according to the source. "We wanted to see the modernization of the metro system - the replacement of 1,000 cars."

Although comfort, convenience and attractiveness are important factors for DC residents, safety is perhaps the most crucial upgrade included in the new cars, which are being referred to as the 7000-series. According to The Associated Press, the new cars were designed specifically with safety in mind and include features like security cameras, more bars for riders to hold and new technology to help the cars withstand crashes more effectively.