The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has met its self-imposed deadline to install platform countdown clocks at every single subway NYC station—471 in total—by the end of 2017, according to the New York Daily News.
The final platforms to get the clocks were 22 stations on the 7 line, which were installed this past week. For those spots, the MTA was able to include Bluetooth-enabled beacon devices on each train and station platform. Arrival times can also be accessed on cell phones and elsewhere via the MTA’s SubwayTime app.
Adding the countdown clocks across the system hasn’t been a swift process; as the Daily News points out, the MTA began installing platform message boards with countdown clock information on the L back in 2006. Two years later, it was expanded to the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 lines. The most recent additions were the 7 and A lines, plus Brooklyn’s Franklin Avenue shuttle.
But as with many MTA initiatives, the rollout was delayed for years (and ran over budget), even as other cities—like London, Paris, Washington—put similar real-time notifications in place. According to reports, the MTA overspent by more than $30 million due to a "fatal flaw" in the software being used; the agency was also forced to briefly shut down the clocks in 13 stations due to hot weather in 2011.
But now, with all the stations sporting countdown clocks, the idea is to lessen the anxiety and frustration that comes from not knowing when the next train is arriving. The clocks can also provide key information during emergencies.
- MTA adds countdown clocks to all subway stations 11 years after project started [NY Daily News]
- All MTA coverage [Curbed]