SMART passenger seating fails initial safety test

The passenger seats seats for Sonoma and Marin counties' commute rail system failed a crash-worthiness test last week, officials said Tuesday.

The manufacturer and Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District said the seats will be redesigned, but that should not delay delivery of the first two-car set by the end of this year.

"Whatever needs to be done will be corrected," said Gene Germaine, director of business development for Kustom Seating Unlimited of Bellwood, Ill. "As it stands, there is no delay in the normal process in developing the product and testing it and having it signed off and meeting the requirements."

Lisa Cobb, SMART's vehicle and systems manager, said she was surprised by the test failure, but isn't concerned.

"There is always usually one thing or another that doesn't go according to plan when you are rolling out a new car design," Cobb said. "That is one reason we require these tests. Often-times something doesn't go right; you fix it and you move on."

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