NYC Transit Hopes To Fight Back Against Rider Skepticism

Platform sign at the Myrtle-Wyckoff stop on the LPlatform sign at the Myrtle-Wyckoff stop on the L Train. Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit.

If you a regular subway rider, you have been involved in the following scenario plenty of times. You are on an extremely crowded platform with hundreds of others waiting for a train that seems to be a world away. Everyone leans over & stares down the tunnel as they try to make that train in the distance arrive faster with each glare. When the train platforms in the station it is packed to the masses & the conductor urges everyone not to try & squeeze in as another train is right behind it.

The plea usually falls on deaf ears as people are tired of finding out that next train is minutes behind instead of right behind it. However if New York City Transit has its way (more specifically L Train Line General Manager Greg Lombardi), they will be able to fight back against rider skepticism. This is because they plan on testing out the technology of actually displaying where the next train is located. The test calls for the installation of a computer screen at each end of the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues station. The screen will show a graphic representation of the entire L Train line and the location of every train on it. William Neuman of the New York Times has more in this report:

It’s one of the great eye-rolling moments of life in New York: as subway riders try to jam onto a crowded train at rush hour, the conductor makes an announcement telling them to stay on the platform because “there’s another train right behind this one.”

To which most straphangers respond: Yeah, right.

Now, New York City Transit aims to counter that skepticism with a novel experiment at the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues station on the L line in Brooklyn. Beginning in December, officials will install a computer screen at each end of the platform showing a graphic representation of the entire L line and the location of every train on it. Waiting passengers can watch the trains move along the tracks as the data is updated every 15 seconds. That way, passengers can see for themselves if there really is another train “right behind this one.”

If the system works, and riders like it, it could be installed in other stations on the L line, said Greg Lombardi, the line’s general manager, who helped create the system. Ultimately it could be used on other lines as well.

Click here for the complete report.

Unless they screw it up, riders will not like this, they will love it! It is about time that such a system was put in place. Now we must make sure that the percentage of riders who make up the waste of space portion do not go around destroying these screens. It is a shame that you know at some point, some delinquent(s) will attempt to mess up the screens. I know we are far from such a system where all the stations are clean & kept up & filled with the latest technology that benefits riders & employees. However maybe this is just the first step in reaching infrastructure heaven for transit advocates.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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