Why Fabrics and Moquettes are losing the passenger experience vote

Fabric and moquette seating upholstery has been widely used throughout public transport sectors including inter-city bus and national and international rail applications. Although operators and OEM’s are attracted to the low up-front acquisition costs of the seating material, the lifetime value of the material along with changing passenger perception of comfort and hygiene means alternative upholstery materials are now being sought out.

Passenger experience has become a focal point for many organisations involved in the supply chain of new or refurbished public transport vehicles. Designers, operators, seat manufactures and OEM’s are now focusing on providing an enhanced passenger experience to passengers travelling via public transport. Expectations regarding comfort and cleanliness are now greater than ever, and touch points that passengers engage with throughout a single journey are being analysed and re-evaluated to ensure a positive passenger experience; one of the most crucial of these touch points, is the seating upholstery material.

As shown in the above video, passengers are more aware than ever, as to fabric seating upholstery’s retentive properties of dirt, dust and potential bacteria and pathogens. Although the patterns of moquette and fabric seating upholstery are designed to hide the numerous stains and dirt lodged in the fabric itself, the material is harder to clean and often requires specialist equipment to do so. Fabric materials have often been used to differentiate between classes on passenger carrying trains, however colour and texture variations of alternative seating materials are now being used to distinguish between classes, which in turn simplifies the supply chain as one material provider is used.

Over the past year, ELeather has been working in collaboration with a leading design consultancy TrendWorks to understand the latest trends in colour, materials and finishes. This partnership has resulted in a passenger-focused trend collection of new ELeather colours and finishes.

Leather fibre composite from ELeather is already an established high-performance upholstery material in bus and rail markets across the globe. These new trend collections (which can be viewed here) offer operators and OEM’s greater tactile and visual variation of upholstery material. Five new grains have been added to ELeather portfolio; Powder Soft which has a matt/suede-type feel; Refined Elegance has a fine, luxury type grain; Deep Natural is a more organic, natural grain; Soft Volume is a natural but structured texture giving a feeling of volume and finally Graphic Relief provides a technical, geometric pattern.

ELeather’s increased variations in touch and colour now enable designers and operators, specifically for the rail market, to choose a single material that can be differentiated depending on the class of travel, whilst also ensuring passenger experience remains consistent. Easy-clean, hard-wearing materials such as leather fibre composite offer a more hygienic upholstery solution compared to fabric and moquette’s, whilst also having greater design variation potential such as embossing, stitching and printing, and are being more frequently chosen for line-fit and refurb programmes in bus and rail markets.

To find out more about ELeather’s new product innovations and trend collections, evolved for ground transportation markets, get in touch via our contact us page.