USA: PreVail vinyl cushioned seat covers made by Omnova are to be tested in place of wool-based fabric on San Francisco's BART metro trains from April to June 2012. Laboratory tests found a passenger preference for vinyl, and the PreFixx Extreme coating is expected to make the seats easier to clean, more durable and graffiti-resistant.

Announcing a $1·9m contract covering 100 cars on November 17, BART said technology has advanced since it first rejected vinyl because of concerns about meeting smoke, fire and toxicity standards. As well as offering standards-compliant products, Omnova also offers recycling services.

'Fabric seats were considered a real attraction when BART began service in 1972, but we're now carrying 370000 riders each weekday and those seats are getting much more use', said General Manager Grace Crunican. 'This trial should give both customers and BART staff a chance to see if vinyl, cushioned seats strike a modern balance between cleanliness and comfort.'