By Eric Jankiewicz
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has allocated $200,000 for countdown clocks to be installed at ten bus stops in the borough. The clocks would give people waiting for buses the exact time that the bus will take to get to a specific stop.
“Our borough’s growth and mobility depends on reliable mass transit,” Katz said. “Countdown clocks eliminate the anxiety of waiting for the unknown, a feeling familiar to every traveler. They’ll add more predictability to any commute and will be a boon for thousands.”
The effort is part of the larger citywide push to install clocks at more bus stops. The concept is not new for trains, but the digital clocks did not start appearing on bus stops until last year, when the city started a pilot program on Staten Island. Since then elected officials in all five boroughs have allocated money from their budgets to take the guesswork out of waiting for buses.
Former Councilman Mark Weprin previously allocated $35,000 and Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Howard Beach) devoted $180,000 in funding to the digitization of bus stops. The city Department of Transportation estimates that each solar-powered clock would cost about $20,000 to install. Katz’s contribution allows the city to install countdown clocks at another 10 bus stops.
According to Katz, the installation will be completed in 2017. But first, the city will determine which bus stops should have the clocks. The transportation department is basing their decision on such factors as ridership levels, the neighborhood’s dependency on buses and their proximity to facilities like hospitals and schools.
“I’d like to thank Borough President Katz for committing valuable funds to this very important transportation investment,” said Polly Trottenberg, the DOT’s commissioner. “Bus countdown clocks make a real difference in real time for customers and we look forward to the program expanding in Queens and beyond.”
Reach reporter Eric Jankiewicz by e-mail at ejank