NYCT Testing Real Time Info Boards On The 6

NYCT Arrival BoardNewly installed PA/CIS Board at the 143rd Street-St. Mary’s Street station. Photo courtesy of MTA New York City Transit.

Earlier this morning, MTA New York City Transit issued a press release to officially announce they are testing real time info boards (PA/CIS) at several Bronx stations on the 6 Train. Here are the complete details:

Real-time train arrival messages are now available in five stations along the Pelham 6 Line in the Bronx. Though still in the initial testing phase, this marks an important milestone in the effort to provide MTA New York City Transit’s subway customers with up-to-date travel information employing 21st Century technology. This is a major component of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s effort to substantially upgrade customer communications across its entire network.

Designed to take the guesswork out of waiting for a train, the Public Address Customer Information Screen (PA/CIS) provides train arrival messages in audio and video. The messages indicate when the next two trains are due to arrive at the station and their destinations.

“Based on information provided by the subway’s electronic monitoring system, these signs are extremely flexible and customer friendly,” explained NYC Transit President Thomas F. Prendergast. “Our customers have long been accustomed to having to guess when the next train will arrive and, of course, we are well aware of the complaints about poor quality public address systems in the subway. With this system we are taking a quantum leap forward in customer communications and the information we are offering.”

Aside from train arrivals, the system also allows NYC Transit to provide both audio and visual messages to customers, keeping them fully informed about service delays or emergency situations. The system will be rolled out incrementally throughout the next year with 152 stations on the numbered lines operational by the first quarter of 2011. PA/CIS was first introduced along the Canarsie L line in January 2007.

The information distributed through the PA/CIS system originates from NYC Transit’s Rail Control Center (RCC). From the RCC, Customer Service Agents provide subway customers with service status and other information either as audio only, visual only, or as synchronized audio and visual information.

The messaging equipment is now operational in the Brook Avenue, Cypress Avenue, E.143rd Street-St. Mary’s Street, E. 149th Street and Longwood Avenue Stations. The system includes signs and speakers which are located on the platforms and in the fare control areas prior to entering the station.

This is one of many long overdue technological upgrades needed for our aging system. For a system which is the most diverse & important in the entire world, it sure is light years behind others in terms of technological advances. While in many cases comparing the NYC system to any other is like comparing apples with oranges, technology is usually one of the rare areas where the comparison is equal.

Hopefully the test pilot program is a success but make no mistake about it, more needs to be done & in a timely manner. Anything else should be considered unacceptable.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Interesting they thought it worthwhile to install this equipment at what is (IIRC) the least used station on the IRT. Is it that the screens are a minor cost in comparison to the train-tracking back end?

[…] Christmas Eve, I wrote an entry about how MTA New York City Transit was rolling out real time information boards at some Bronx 6 line stations. Earlier today, they announced a continued rollout of these boards […]

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