Photo: MTA New York City Transit/Marc A. Hermann
The Big Apple will see a big investment in updating subway technology, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address.
In an official announcement made at the New York Transit Museum on January 8th, Cuomo said he plans to “modernize and fundamentally transform the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.” This pledge is part of his broader commitment to “stimulate the economy and ensure opportunity for all New Yorkers” by redesigning and revitalizing 30 existing subway stations within the system.
His proposal offers significant improvements to the MTA experience overall. The state plans to expand Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the system, speed up progress on mobile payments and ticketing to replace the MetroCard and provide free USB charging ports on trains, buses and in stations.
Other improvements include expanding the countdown clock system, offering real-time updates in-station and through an app. Buses will be equipped with digital screens to display stops and alerts. Help points and digital kiosks will improve emergency response and customer service and more surveillance will be added to buses.
But the time investment required to complete Cuomo’s plans has some New Yorkers reeling. A related MTA announcement revealed extended subway closings throughout the city because of the improvements. Stations will be shut down for an average of six to twelve months per station during renovations.
“The MTA is committed to meeting Governor Cuomo’s challenge head-on, eliminating every possible inefficiency to deliver these improvements faster, better and at a lower cost,” said MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast
In a statement to BuzzBuzzHome News, City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Committee on Transportation, called the governor’s plans “ambitious” and “a much needed facelift to our transit system,” adding that investment in public transit is key to New York City’s sustained economic growth.