Countdown clocks arrive in Astoria, other MTA stations in western Queens

Countdown clocks arrive in Astoria and other neighborhoods in western Queens as the MTA seeks to improve communications for straphangers.
Photo by Caseyjonz/Wikimedia
By Bill Parry

Countdown clocks have been installed at subway stations along the W line in Astoria and M lines in Middle Village, Ridgewood and other stations in western Queens. They were scheduled to go live last week, according to the MTA.

The installations are part of the agency’s Subway Action Plan, which calls for improving customer communications and providing timely information, a two-part initiative rolled out by MTA Chairman Joe Lhota in July to modernize, stabilize and improve the subway system.

“We continue to make great progress to bring real-time train arrival information to all stations,” Lhota said. “It is a vital part of our aggressive and immediate efforts to improve the customer experience through increased reliability and capacity, enhanced stations and safety, and clear and accurate communication.”

The MTA will have countdown clocks at all lettered stations by the end of the year, and they are now in 326 of its 472 stations. The countdown clocks use beacon technology which has already been deployed on the C, E, G and R lines and involves placing four low-energy Bluetooth beacons on each train set and two receivers on each platform. LCD display screens at each station provide customers with real time train arrival information.

Stations with countdown clocks also show real-time arrival information for connecting lines as well.

“Beacon technology and our Subway Action Plan put our customers first by expediting improvements in the system that improve how we provide information to our customers and overall reliability,” MTA Managing Director Ronnie Hakim said.

The 7 line will also get countdown clocks after the installation of its new signal system is completed later this year.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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