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Queens Chronicle

Bus countdown clocks coming to South Queens

Ulrich allocates funds for at least nine

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Posted: Thursday, July 10, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 9:08 am, Thu Jul 17, 2014.

At least nine bus stops in South Queens will be fitted with countdown clocks that will tell passengers how long until the next bus arrives.

The clocks, which each costs about $20,000, use GPS to track buses and estimate their time of arrival. The city Department of Transportation is spearheading the program to install them at major bus stops across the city. Currently only two have been erected, both in Staten Island.

“These clocks will be a great service to frustrated riders waiting in the heat or the cold for their buses,” John Raskin, executive director of the Riders Alliance, a public transportation advocacy group pushing for the countdown clocks, said in a statement.

In the spring, Community Board 9 residents taking part in participatory budgeting under Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) voted to allocate $80,000 toward four clocks in the district within the board’s area, which includes Ozone Park north of 103rd Avenue, Woodhaven and part of Richmond Hill. Ulrich allocated another $55,000 toward more clocks.

Rudy S. Giuliani, Ulrich’s chief of staff, said the decisions have not yet been made on where the clocks will go. In order for the system to work, multiple clocks must be installed on a single bus route. Residents at Ulrich’s participatory budgeting meetings suggested bus stops along Woodhaven Boulevard at Jamaica and Atlantic avenues as spots for countdown clocks.

A DOT official suggested at a meeting in Woodhaven last month that the clocks may be installed along Woodhaven Boulevard as part of a potential Select Bus Service route on the Q52 and Q53 lines in the future.

The nine in South Queens are among over 100 clocks slated to be installed in the city before the end of next year. The vast majority of those clocks will be in Midtown and the Upper East Side in Manhattan. Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) also allocated $35,000 for at least one clock in his district.

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