APTA | Passenger Transport
January 3, 2011

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AROUND THE INDUSTRY

New York Subway Stations Activate Public Address ‘Countdown Clocks’

MTA New York City Transit (NYC Transit) has activated “countdown clocks” in 100 subway stations along its numbered subway lines, exceeding its original goal of having 75 stations online by the end of 2010. A similar project is underway to activate informational signs along the lettered lines.

The countdown clocks, formally called Public Address/Customer Information Screens (PA/CIS), provide up-to-the-minute next train information that takes the guesswork out of how long the wait time will be. NYC Transit began implementation of the screens on the L Canarsie Line in 2007 and ultimately plans to install them in 152 stations along the numbered lines in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn.

The information distributed through the PA/CIS system originates from NYC Transit’s Rail Control Center. From there, customer service agents provide subway riders with up-to-date service status either as audio, visual, or synchronized audio and visual information.

“For years, transit riders in other cities around the world have been looking at digital signs to know when the next bus or train is coming,” said Jay H. Walder, chairman and chief executive officer of New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “But in New York, we were left peering down a subway platform looking for headlights. We’re changing that and improving our customers’ experience one station at a time.”

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