Dallas Area Rapid Transit is replacing 34,000 fabric seat cushions with new vinyl ones across its bus fleet.

The change is meant to ensure a cleaner and more comfortable experience for passengers, spokesperson Gordon Shattles said. The new vinyl seats will be “much easier” to clean than the former fabric ones.

“The long-term goal of this is to make sure we have a very clean system for all of our riders,” Shattles said. “A lot of folks were worried after COVID[-19], [but] we want to make sure that our riders have a safe, ... clean and effective ride.”

Previously, workers would remove dirty cloth seats in the evening and replace them with clean ones. Shattles said the vinyl seats will be wiped clean throughout the day.

“I know as a passenger, when you come inside [a bus] where someone spilled their coffee but it’s blended in so you sit down in a pile of coffee—that’s the last thing you want to start your day with,” Shattles said.

The new seats will make it easier to avoid situations like that, he added.

DART vehicles began receiving new seating in May, and the process is expected to be completed in November, according to a DART news release.

Swapping fabric cushions with vinyl ones is “not a quick process,” Shattles said. The agency has set up a “conveyor system” for buses to swap seats out when they pull into a station at the end of their route. The process takes about 30-45 minutes per bus, and the agency has a fleet of 163 vehicles. The change does not include DART’s electric buses, which already have vinyl seats.

In addition to the new seats, DART is using on-board contract cleaning personnel to remove trash and debris aboard light rail vehicles throughout the day. Buses also receive nightly cleaning, Shattles said.