Queens gets audio alerts at N, Q stops

Queens gets audio alerts at N, Q stops
Photo by Christina Santucci
By Christina Santucci

Western Queens straphangers at several stations along the N/Q line can find out what time the next train is due to arrive if they just listen up.

A new automated audio announcement program, tailored specifically to five stops in the borough, was put into place last week, Lois Tendler, vice president of Government & Community Relations for MTA said at a news conference Wednesday morning. The audible messages at the 39th Avenue, 36th Avenue, Broadway, 30th Avenue and Astoria Boulevard stops, which draw an average weekday ridership of about 55,000, are slated to be used until visual countdown clocks are installed within the next five years. The agency could not give an estimate as to how much the audible announcements or refurbishing plans cost.

Tendler also said the MTA planned to refurbish three N/Q stations next year along the line – at Ditmars Boulevard, Broadway and 39th Avenue – by checking and repairing areas including platforms, canopies, staircases, and benches, The hubs will also be outfitted with new art.

“We will come in and fix anything this is not up to standard,” she said.

Three other stations along the line are slated to receive an overhaul in 2015, so long as the MTA’s 2015-2019 Capital Program receives funding from the Legislature, Tendler said.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), who had began asking the transit agency to install countdown clocks since 2010, praised the MTA for addressing his request on behalf of riders in the rapidly growing neighborhoods of Astoria, and said he has additional items on his wish list for straphangers in Long Island City.

“We are always focusing on improving mass transit in this area,” he said. “The easier we can make the ride for the people whether it is practically with the countdown clocks or aesthetically with the refurbishing are steps in the right direction.”

He was joined by Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., as well as members of the transit advocacy group Riders Alliance at the event on 31st Street and 30th Avenue.

Simotas said as a new mother she often struggles herself with juggling her daughter, a stroller and diaper bag and said knowing when the next subway was scheduled to arrive would be helpful.

Riders Alliance member and commuter Lauren Houston said the audio messages will come in handy on extremely cold days or afternoons when the summer sun is scorching the platform.

“Perhaps we can get a countdown clock for when we will get countdown clocks,” Vallone joked.