“Your train will be arriving in ...”
Now train stations won’t just tell straphangers in that recorded automated voice how long until the next subway car, but will show them. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority installed countdown clocks, which visually tell riders when the next train will arrive, at five Astoria N and Q subway stations.
“Waiting on an elevated platform in the dead of winter or the dog days of summer is no fun,” said Astorian Lauren Houston, a member of the Riders Alliance, an organization of subway and bus riders advocating for better public transit. “With the new loudspeaker announcements I’ll know exactly when the next train is coming and how long I need to brave the elements.”
Countdown clocks are at the Broadway and 39th, 36th, 30th avenues and Astoria Blvd. stops.
In addition to knowing when the train will arrive, the digitalized rectangular screen with red-lit words will say if the train is express or local and, the MTA hopes, cut down on people leaning towards the track to see if their train is pulling in. The clocks also report service delays.
Since 2007, the MTA has installed clocks at 177 stations — 153 on numbered lines. Acting NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco says the agency plans to put countdown clocks at many more subway stations in the next three to five years.
State Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) sent a letter to the MTA in the fall of 2010 requesting them in his district.
“Countdown clocks were a great idea three years ago, and although it took some time, I am pleased to see that western Queens will now be able to enjoy real time information,” Gianaris said.
According to the MTA, Queens No. 7 stations are slated to receive the clocks and 13 stops on the E, F, M and R lines in Queens have a simpler form of the signs.