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Passenger Tifia Napier-Morales, of Oakland, rides a BART train with new vinyl covered seats in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, April 3, 2012. BART unveiled the new seats with a special train that made a quick trip between the 19th Street and Montgomery Street stations. (Anda Chu/Staff)

New easy-to-clean vinyl seats made their debut on BART trains Tuesday in response to riders' persistent complaints about grime and smells on the old wool seats.

BART rolled out four train cars equipped with new stain-resistant vinyl seats and plans to have them in 100 cars by the end of the month.

The BART board last year agreed to invest $1.9 million in the seat overhaul after a survey found widespread dissatisfaction with wool seat covers, which soak up spills and odors and have to be removed and sent to the cleaners.

BART commissioned the Seda company to make the seats out of Omnova, a vinyl material it produces for transit seats.

"You spoke, and BART listened," BART Board President John McPartland said Tuesday of the new seat materials.

If the new material proves popular, BART will consider using it when it replaces its entire fleet of 669 cars over the next decade.



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