Seats are already at a premium on the subway during rush hours. But on one car, they're basically no longer an option. NY1 Transit Reporter Jose Martinez filed the following report.
It's often standing-room only on the 42nd Street shuttle.
But now, that's pretty much the only option on the middle car of a three-car train that runs between the city's two busiest subway stations.
"Looks like a cattle car," one commuter assessed of the seat-less car.
On Wednesday, the seat-less shuttle made its weekday debut. Part of the MTA's strategy of testing ways to ease overcrowding and delays by increasing the capacity of trains.
In choosing the 42nd Street Shuttle, the MTA went right to the belly of the beast; the cars are packed during typical rush hours.
"Very hard to get a seat, lot of pushing and shoving. Actually adds a lot of stress to the day," a commuter said in the seat-less car. "For one stop, you almost just want to walk."
For this latest test, the MTA yanked out all seating except for the stubby benches at both ends of the car.
Many riders NY1 spoke to said removing seating makes sense on such a short line.
"It gives us more room, as you can see," one woman said aboard the seat-less car.
"It's a one-minute ride," one man said. "If it was the 1 train, you would have issues."
The MTA began tinkering with seating arrangements on some of its trains last month, first by taking out the small benches at the end of ten trains on the E line, then by installing seats that flip-up during the morning and evening rush on a single L train.
But the shuttle is the first train to have a car with most of its seating removed, creating space for about 30 more riders.
"I think it's actually genius. You make more room on the car," one commuter said. "But this morning, I was just lazy, so I got a seat."
"I think people who have some kind of disability might have a problem with it," another commuter said.
The MTA said it's evaluating rider response to the new seating arrangements, and whether they'll be expanded to other lines.
And if you want to guarantee yourself at least a shot at a seat on a train running between Grand Central and Times Square, well, there's always the Number 7.