The countdown is on, but Brooklynites are feeling left out.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday, August 8, that the MTA had begun a 90-day test of countdown clocks in eight subway stations along the N, Q and R lines.
The computer screens, which are an upgrade from the MTA’s current LED digital display screens, will inform straphangers of public service announcements and other content.
Initially, testing will be performed at the 23rd Street, 28th Street, 34th Street, 42nd Street, 49th Street, 57th Street, Fifth Avenue/59th Street and Lexington Avenue/59th subway stops, and will include two countdown clocks with enhanced LCD screens.
However, local pols and straphangers feel that Brooklyn is not included during the test period.
“Once again, Brooklyn is put on the back burner in regards to MTA subway improvements,” said Councilmember Vincent Gentile. “The naked eye will tell you that Brooklyn subway stations, especially in my district, are behind the curve concerning this technology. The R train nightmares are well documented here in Bay Ridge and the installation of countdown clocks would greatly benefit our riders’ commutes.”
“Senator Golden has stressed to the MTA on numerous occasions his interest in having the countdown clocks installed in Southwest Brooklyn train stations,” said John Quaglione, a spokesperson for State Senator Marty Golden.
“Brooklynites face chronic train delays, construction and disruption of service; therefore, we should have equal access to technologies such as the countdown clock,” added MTA rider Nancy DiCostanzo.
According to the MTA, the goal is to install the clocks in all 269 lettered-line stations, as countdown clocks currently serve only 176 stations, including the L line’s 24 stations.
“These actions are the latest steps toward rebuilding and transforming the MTA into a unified, state-of-the-art transportation network that will meet the needs of current and future generations of New Yorkers,” Cuomo said.
“Governor Cuomo challenged the MTA to develop an aggressive approach to putting countdown clocks on the lettered lines, and our technology team’s response has been phenomenal,” added MTA Chairperson and CEO Thomas Prendergast.
During the 90-day test of the clocks, the MTA will work to identify and correct any issues with the new system. The additions are part of Cuomo’s $27 billion, five-year MTA Capital Program to improve customer service.