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Subway arrival info behind schedule


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Subway arrival info behind schedule



September 24th 2008



Photo by the real janelle

Real-time train arrival displays at the (L) train Lorimer Street station.


Attention, straphangers: A project to display real-time train arrival times in 152 subway stations is now behind schedule - by five years.


The project, featuring electronic message boards posted above subway platforms, was originally expected to be completed in 2006.


NYC Transit has pushed back that date several times over the years, citing software development problems, technical glitches and other problems. Earlier this week, officials pushed the date back again, this time to 2011.


The delays in the $185 million project have frustrated riders and advocates who have seen such information provided in other cities around the world but not here.


"What a drag!" said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign. "Riders really want to know when trains are due to arrive and when they are delayed."


The transit agency in 2002 awarded the Public Address/Customer Information Screen contract to Siemens Transit Technologies, a joint venture between Siemens Transportation Systems and Transit Technologies.


The stations being rigged up are along the Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 lines.


A smaller test program on the L line came on board last year. The balance of the system is slated to be equipped in a subsequent phase of the Siemens contract. A Siemens spokeswoman said she couldn't immediately comment on the project Tuesday.


The info-screen project is part of a series of complex, interrelated - and expensive - communications systems that the agency and numerous contractors are attempting to weave together in the underground maze. Combined, they are to provide a seamless flow of information through NYC Transit's rail control center to riders.


Many high-tech projects have encountered significant delays.


At a Metropolitan Transportation Authority committee meeting earlier this week, MTA Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger said the authority has launched a new monitoring and problem-solving process. It entails risk-assessment workshops where all of a project's participants together review individual tasks, costs and potential hurdles.


"This process is really a good one, and something we've never ever done before," Hemmerdinger said. "This is a big step forward."


Mark Page, one of Mayor Bloomberg's representatives on the MTA board, said he wasn't convinced some projects make economic sense as there's increasing concern whether the MTA will have enough money to maintain the current level of bus, subway and other service.

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