I was browsing AMNY’s website & saw a headline about the subway system & cell phones. It seems that plans to enable working cell phone service in every station is moving forward. Here is the article courtesy of AMNY:
After two years of talk, plans for cell phone and WiFi-accessible subways stations are rolling forward, an encouraging message for some straphangers but a troubling one for others who wonder if platforms will become one loud phone booth.
New York City Transit announced Wednesday an agreement with a consortium, Transit Wireless, to wire six stations in the next two years, pending MTA board approval next week. If the company’s work rings true with transit, the firm will fit the remaining 271 underground stations over four years. The tunnels, however, will not be wired.
“I think it’ll be very useful. I’ve had so many problems when I’ve been stuck on a train and have 20 minutes to get somewhere, and I can’t call to say I’m late,” said high schooler Parul Aggarwal, 17.
The consortium will pay $46 million to wire the system, and transit will pay nothing. The consortium must strike a deal with a carrier, which has not been selected.
Keeping in touch underground is one reason for wired-up platforms, but the initiative could help in a transit meltdown like last month’s.
The agency was widely criticized for poor communication with passengers about the system-wide, storm-related service outage. A recommendation in an MTA report the governor ordered afterward calls for the agency to better communicate with straphangers about service problems. That report will be released by the agency today.
A spokesman would not say if text messaged service alerts will be among the recommendations.
“Obviously, communications is an area where we underperformed on August 8, and providing cell service on platforms will allow customers access to phones and PDAs so they can let people know they’re stuck or find information from other sources, such as the MTA Web site,” spokesman Jeremy Soffin said. “In emergencies, cell phones could also be used to communicate with first responders.”
That’s what pay phones are for, said some straphangers waiting for the No. 7 train yesterday. Others said transit has a phone-free solution to better communication — clear and helpful announcements over PA systems.
Riders on the elevated No. 7 line know what chatty platforms and trains are like. Some say cell phone talkers are mere background noise, but others said conversations get too loud, hampering the commute.
“I think it’s going to be more stressful, especially in the morning when you’re just trying to get with it,” said Ellie Rodriguez, a teacher who commutes to Manhattan from Flushing. “People don’t have a concept of manners or rudeness when it comes to cell phones.”
The Straphangers Campaign has polled its members, who mostly support wiring stations but are mixed on offering service in tunnels.
“In a station you’re not a captive like you are in a subway car,” Straphangers spokesman Gene Russianoff said. “You can walk away.”
All I can is about time! Now only if they could work in subway tunnels as well! I admit that is asking for too much & is not exactly necessary.
I am hoping that Sprint gets the contract to handle this project!