MTA To Continue On The Go Project

Back in September 2011, the MTA introduced “On The Go”, an interactive touch-screen kiosk that contained travel information & more.

After a successful pilot run, the agency recently announced that will continue with phase two of the project which calls for the installation of at least 77 more. Here are the details:

MTA New York City Transit announced today that it will move ahead with the second phase of a pilot project for On the Go! Travel Stations, adding at least 77 of the interactive touch-screen kiosks throughout the system that offer MTA travel information and a whole lot more.

The initial pilot launched in September 2011 has been a success. Placed at the Bowling Green, Atlantic Ave-Barclays Center, and Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Ave subway stations as well as Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal, the On the Go! Travel Stations have been offering customers information about their entire trip, from planning with Trip Planner+, real-time service status, escalator & elevator status and local neighborhood maps. In addition, the MTA partnered with third party developers to include applications which provide additional information, such as local history, shopping and nearby dining options. The sleek, stainless steel enclosures support a large screen with a colorful display and also provide news and weather information. The original On the Go! Travel Stations were designed by Antenna Design New York Inc. and are extremely durable and easy to clean and maintain.

“Taken together, this is an unprecedented amount of information made available to subway and commuter rail customers. These state-of-the-art customer communications kiosks provide instant information that makes using the transit system more efficient,” said MTA Interim Executive Director Thomas F. Prendergast. “The positive feedback we have received via our website or Twitter account has confirmed that our customers have embraced this new technology improving their riding experience.”

MTA NYC Transit’s marketing research team conducted research to quantitatively and qualitatively determine the use and customer response to the devices. Intercept surveys (550) were conducted at all five locations asking participants about the device and its functionality. In addition, passenger observations were carried out to determine the number of people using the device, and the length of their interactions.

Based on positive customer feedback to the kiosks, and the desire to determine if the network could work on a larger scale, the decision was made to move forward with the second phase of the pilot. In February 2012, MTA Real Estate issued a Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) soliciting responses from entities interested in being an advertising agent or sponsor of a future, large scale network of On the Go! Travel Stations.

The MTA will enter into license agreements with CBS Outdoor and Control Group Inc. requiring that the two licensees purchase the kiosks and deliver them to NYC Transit for installation. In this unique public/private partnership, the companies will each retain 90% of gross advertising receipts and pay 10% of the gross receipts to NYC Transit until they recoup their capital investments in the pilot. After they recover their costs, the companies will keep 35% of gross receipts and pay 65% to NYC Transit. Title to the kiosks transfers to NYC Transit upon installation and acceptance.

As part of this proof of concept phase of the pilot, the licensees will have the creative freedom to design the customer interface and to customize the transit-related applications that will reside on the kiosks, while also selling and displaying advertising to defray the related capital and operating expenses. During this phase, NYC Transit will evaluate customer perceptions, the ability to post and update information quickly, and advertising revenue opportunities. This information will inform decisions regarding deployment of additional kiosks, customer communication strategies and future advertising contracts encompassing digital media and platforms.

The kiosks, going into an additional 16 stations, will provide NYC Transit with a Digital Out of Home Network that will allow NYC Transit to communicate with customers at the station level, especially in times of planned and unplanned events, reducing the need to plaster stations with paper signage. It is estimated that the hardware cost of each kiosk will be under $15,000. CBS Outdoor will provide 30 kiosks and Control Group will provide anywhere from 47 to 90 kiosks.

The On the Go! Travel Stations can be customized for a specific location and by time of day. For example, at the Penn Station Travel Station, during the morning, the screen will default to subway information and in the evenings it will default to LIRR service. All content is remotely managed from a secure web-based management system and applications can be changed or updated as needed.

In my original post in 2011, I mentioned how I would try to go to Bowling Green & try the kiosk out. I never got a chance to do so & to this day, I have yet to try these kiosks. Off the top of my head, I can’t recall ever seeing anyone actually use these. However I did ask my friend & she told me that she sees it used all the time in Grand Central.

I can support the agency continuing this project since it is costing nothing on their end while they get to share in the advertising revenue. The best part is they don’t have to maintain them which is great as we know if they did, they would be broken most of the time.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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