MTA rolls out new countdown clocks for test runs

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The new countdown clocks were rolled out in eight test stations Thursday. (MTA)

The new countdown clocks were rolled out in eight test stations Thursday. (MTA)

NEW YORK — The MTA began a 90-day test of new countdown clocks Thursday at several locations as preparation to eventually install the clocks in all lettered-line stations, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced.

Eight N, Q and R stations have the new enhanced LCD screen clocks. The investment is part of Gov. Cuomo’s five-year, $27 billion plan to improve the state’s transit system.

“These actions are the latest steps toward rebuilding and transforming the MTA into a unified, state-of-the-art transportation network that will meet the needs of current and future generations of New Yorkers,” Gov. Cuomo said. “With this new and updated technology, we’ll help ensure riders have the information they need to get where they need to go.”

The new clocks, featuring enhanced LCD screens, can also display public service announcements. New clocks will ultimately be installed in all 269 lettered-line stations.

The system works by using the existing wireless network in the subway tunnels in conjunction with Bluetooth devices. Devices will be attached to the ends of platforms and to the first and last cars on trains. The system will log the entrance and exit times of trains to stations and calculate when each train will reach its next stop.

“Governor Cuomo challenged the MTA to develop an aggressive approach to putting countdown clocks on the lettered lines, and our technology team’s response has been phenomenal,” MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast said. “In very short order they developed an easy to deploy, cost-effective system that we think will play a central role in bringing this essential service to more and more of our customers.”

The governor also announced a pilot program of digital information screens for 131 buses on the M15 SBS, B46 SBS and S79 SBS lines. If it goes well, that will also be expanded to 3,600 buses around the city.