"Countdown Clocks" Continue to Pop Up on Subway Platforms

Subway customers at 40 stations are now able to take advantage of next train information as MTA New York City Transit continues to turn on customer information screens in the ongoing effort to provide riders with real-time train arrival information. The system is being activated incrementally, now more than halfway toward the 75 station goal for 2010. NYC Transit hopes to have 152 numbered line stations on line in 2011.

The Customer Information Screens are taking the guesswork out of knowing when the next train will arrive, joining the 24 L line stations that introduced the program in January, 2007 through the line's communications-based train control system. In recent weeks, these "Countdown Clocks" have been added at 40 additional stations on the number lines in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan where riders are no longer forced to lean over the platform and scan for oncoming headlights.

A and C Line customers at six stations in Washington Heights and Harlem will also benefit from a new pilot project testing the delivery of next train arrival information utilizing previously installed electronic signs tying them in with existing infrastructure. Unlike the more advanced system currently being turned on along the numbered lines which receives its information from the scheduled data provided by ATS (Automatic Train Supervision), this simpler system identifies train location using the signal system's track circuits and sending this information to existing equipment. This method allows NYC Transit to get the "Countdown Clocks" up and running as quickly as possible at very little added expense.

"These countdown clocks are another way we are fundamentally changing the customers' experience using our system by connecting them with 21st century technological advances," said MTA Chairman and CEO Jay H. Walder. "Despite tough economic times, we continue to move forward in modernizing our communications network, finding creative and affordable ways to better service the riding public."

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. Screens are located on the platform and near turnstiles where passengers can view arrival information before paying their fares.

"We are moving ahead steadily with this vital customer information initiative," explained NYC Transit President Thomas F. Prendergast. "With the PA/CIS screens activated on a regular basis across the system, more and more subway riders will be able to just look up and see when their train will arrive."