Update: Electronic Signs


Well, it turns out there was a truth to the headline SUBWAYblogger wrote the other day.

The test went…umm…ok? Oh screw it, the signs didn’t work correctly. The signs regularly overestimated the arrival times of the trains!

The crazy part of the story is that the signs won’t make their way to the other subway lines until 2008 or 2009. Wow…talk about not holding your breath. By the time they get these bad boys up and running, the the Tube in London will have a few dozen plasma screens on each platform. The Tokyo subway will beam the location of the next train automatically to your cellphone in real time. Then, there will be NYC, with our hardly reliable, two line, LED screens. Sweet.

To add insult, other lines aren’t ever going to get the signs:

…there is no plan to extend the notification signs to the lettered subway lines, whose nicknames — “Forever” for “F,” “Never” for “N” and “Rarely” for “R” — indicate that such signs might just encourage riders to surface and walk or take a taxi.


5 thoughts on “Update: Electronic Signs

  1. In fairness, this is just a test of the system. They probably simulated delays to see if the boards would react properly. The strange numbers are actually showing the engineers that the boards are receiving electronic updates. But yes, it is jawdropping that the B-division’s version of these signs aren’t in this capital program and that it is taking so long to get the A-division’s up and working. Hopefully the new CEO of the MTA, who calls the project a “priority”, will do something about it.


  2. Ohh yeah…”in fairness.” $160+ million dollars, and a few years later…yeah…let’s be fair. Simulating delays? Have you met the MTA? Do you think they are that smart? Before simulating delays, you’d probably want to simulate it WORKING.


  3. I am not trying to defend the ridiculousness that is the MTA, I am dismayed by their performance and inability to modernize the system as anyone. I was just pointing out a few facts: the MTA isn’t building/testing the system, the contractor (SIEMENS I believe) is. Also the MTA itself said engineers were performing various tests on the signs which could cause strange things to appear–that’s why the signs reiterate every few seconds that they are in test mode. When I saw the signs they seemed to be working fine. Furthermore these signs on the L are NOT part of the $160 million A-division contract which uses the new RCC/ATC system to relay the information; the L’s signs are not the same (they don’t even look the same, if you’ve seen the ones that have been popping up around the A-div) and are powered by the new CBTC signaling system. I agree the $160 million A-div contract is a bloody mess but it is a seperate problem altogether than the L train.


  4. Also about the B-div I believe the story goes something like this: the MTA originally intended to install the system on the B-div in this Capital Program but it got bumped in a revision to save money because the B-div isn’t expected to be online with the RCC (which will power the signs) until at least 2009 anyway (that project IS part of the 2005-2009 program.) They said at the time that they expected the signs (known as PA/CIS) to be funded in the next capital program. If they overlapped like under the original plan it would save some time getting the signs to work (2009 if all went well) but now it will probably be more like 2011-2012. The ONE hope is that the new CEO finds some of the MTA’s always-fun “secret money” and puts the project through now.


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