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Deucey

When broken clocks aren’t right twice a day? When they’re MTA Countdown Clocks

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I don't understand the article.  Why would the countdown clocks be a mess because of track work?  In other words, if a train is late it's late.  The article gives the impression that the countdown clocks are somehow tied into the (MTA) subway schedules.  What I do know and don't understand is why the clocks have been inaccurate.  For example I've seen cases where the clock says "0 minutes", and the train doesn't come, but the clock is stuck on "0 minutes" for several minutes.  Then the sign changes to "Delay", then "5 minutes", then back to "1 minute" and then you're still waiting for that train.  These clocks also need to be able to show more trains.  You can only see the arrival for two trains and if there are multiple trains at that station and the line you're waiting for isn't the train, well good luck.

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It would have to be based on a schedule any type of CPM (Critical path method)system is for the most part.  Wouldnt that be entered a terminal and updated along the line?

Edited by RailRunRob

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1 hour ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

I don't understand the article.  Why would the countdown clocks be a mess because of track work?  In other words, if a train is late it's late.  The article gives the impression that the countdown clocks are somehow tied into the (MTA) subway schedules.  What I do know and don't understand is why the clocks have been inaccurate.  For example I've seen cases where the clock says "0 minutes", and the train doesn't come, but the clock is stuck on "0 minutes" for several minutes.  Then the sign changes to "Delay", then "5 minutes", then back to "1 minute" and then you're still waiting for that train.  These clocks also need to be able to show more trains.  You can only see the arrival for two trains and if there are multiple trains at that station and the line you're waiting for isn't the train, well good luck.

Yeah, this article doesn't know what it wants to bash this time, though that is typical for the Daily News. I believe the main crux of the article here is that track work is undermining on-time performance, which is now easily comparable between the printed schedules and the functional countdown clocks. To that point, that's a big "no duh" from me. Of course track work will slow down the trains. They cannot blaze down the line when there is maintenance work happening on an adjacent track. The other half of this tossed salad of an article is dealing with the actual schedule of trains during maintenance work, which some riders and MTA employees feel needs to be adjusted to mitigate some of the cascading delays. I feel that this is may not work as well as they think. If the number of trains is reduced to more manageable levels in slow zones, they may be able to reduce the amount of bunching, especially near the terminals. On the other hand, if trains are still running slowly and there are less of them, those bunching delays will just turn into holding delays as more riders try to fit on fewer trains. Naturally, none of that has anything to do with the clocks besides them showing long wait times and the inevitable "delay" message that most of us are all too familiar with as of late.

In regards to your concerns, I don't know why the MTA can't seem to understand people would like more than the next two arriving trains. It's even more baffling at express stations like Roosevelt Av, Bryant Park, etc., where one would like to know whether they should wait for the express or just bite the bullet and take the local. I think the only line with the new clocks that shows more than two arrivals is the (7) and that's apparently only whenever it feels like. I took the (7) yesterday morning and it was back to just two even after someone else here reported that the clocks were cycling through multiple trains again. Maybe they want us to use their SubwayTime app. Of course, if that's the case, maybe their app shouldn't be so shitty.

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26 minutes ago, Lance said:

Yeah, this article doesn't know what it wants to bash this time, though that is typical for the Daily News. I believe the main crux of the article here is that track work is undermining on-time performance, which is now easily comparable between the printed schedules and the functional countdown clocks. To that point, that's a big "no duh" from me. Of course track work will slow down the trains. They cannot blaze down the line when there is maintenance work happening on an adjacent track. The other half of this tossed salad of an article is dealing with the actual schedule of trains during maintenance work, which some riders and MTA employees feel needs to be adjusted to mitigate some of the cascading delays. I feel that this is may not work as well as they think. If the number of trains is reduced to more manageable levels in slow zones, they may be able to reduce the amount of bunching, especially near the terminals. On the other hand, if trains are still running slowly and there are less of them, those bunching delays will just turn into holding delays as more riders try to fit on fewer trains. Naturally, none of that has anything to do with the clocks besides them showing long wait times and the inevitable "delay" message that most of us are all too familiar with as of late.

In regards to your concerns, I don't know why the MTA can't seem to understand people would like more than the next two arriving trains. It's even more baffling at express stations like Roosevelt Av, Bryant Park, etc., where one would like to know whether they should wait for the express or just bite the bullet and take the local. I think the only line with the new clocks that shows more than two arrivals is the (7) and that's apparently only whenever it feels like. I took the (7) yesterday morning and it was back to just two even after someone else here reported that the clocks were cycling through multiple trains again. Maybe they want us to use their SubwayTime app. Of course, if that's the case, maybe their app shouldn't be so shitty.

LMAO... I've actually given up on that app. I've thought about pulling out my phone and using it a few times and then I remember what a PITA it is to use.  It refreshes ONCE if at all.  After that you have to go through the entire process all over again regardless of whether or not you use the mobile version or the desktop one.  What's interesting is they've installed these countdown clocks along SBS lines that are finally now up. They are capable of showing about 5 - 6 buses at once which is very helpful.  At the stop I was at, it showed two BxM2 buses (one was late) and two M79SBS buses, and it updated regularly so I could just keep my hands in my pocket and relax.  Of course at these subway stations, they still haven't gotten around to installing more than say one or two countdown clocks.  What I have noticed though is those NYC Link thingys... On the Upper West Side, they actually show the subway status board. That has been very helpful. I can't recall if they do more than that (e.g. showing when the next train is due), but that's something else they should work on, this way you don't even have to go downstairs and pay and then find out service is a mess.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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I call our countdown clocks window dressing for a reason - it's not meant to be right, it's meant to deceive....

I mean seriously, the train that was supposed to arrive 2 minutes ago, not showing up after 2 minutes after the fact, still showing as being 2 minutes away, illustrates a serious problem (re-read that again if you have to)... That is the essence of deception & it's happened to me more times than I can count on two hands & really the main reason why I do not put much stock into them..

The MTA is trying to keep pace with technology in this age of technology & it is failing miserably.....

I'm gonna listen to some Coldplay right now ;)

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The countdown clock at 175 Street on the (A) constantly shows inacurrate train times. The damn things say the next southbound train is 2 minutes away (yet the train hasn't even pulled into 181 Street), so you're actually waiting for a good 5-7 minutes or so.

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So after slamming SubwayTime, for whatever reason I decided to try it out again recently and there appears to be some improvements (finally).  If you use the app in desktop mode, it actually refreshes every 15 seconds automatically and it shows up to four trains in each direction.  Certainly an improvement to say the least, especially given how few countdown clocks exist in some stations.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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38 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

So after slamming SubwayTime, for whatever reason I decided to try it out again recently and there appears to be some improvements (finally).  If you use the app in desktop mode, it actually refreshes every 15 seconds automatically and it shows up to four trains in each direction.  Certainly an improvement to say the least, especially given how few countdown clocks exist in some stations.

BusTime was down this AM - web, text, mobile.

I would get mad, but everyone's entitled to an error.

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4 minutes ago, Deucey said:

BusTime was down this AM - web, text, mobile.

I would get mad, but everyone's entitled to an error.

lol... What time was this? I used BusTime briefly and it worked when I needed it for like a minute or two until my express bus came.

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I don't get the hate for the countdown clocks, I've only encountered a broken clock once so far, at 7 ave in Manhattan. Obviously they're not going to be accurate down to the second, it's a approximation based on a bluetooth chip that's been slapped onto the train.

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2 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

lol... What time was this? I used BusTime briefly and it worked when I needed it for like a minute or two until my express bus came.

630-700.

Had to walk to the ferry cuz I couldn’t count on the next bus arriving at it’s normal time 

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13 minutes ago, Deucey said:

630-700.

Had to walk to the ferry cuz I couldn’t count on the next bus arriving at it’s normal time 

That's a long walk too... When we had the strike back in 2005, I walked from where I lived near Forest Avenue by the SI Zoo, all the way to the ferry (along Richmond Terrace, I think someone actually offered me a ride to the ferry via carpool - I think I declined it - the idea freaked me out despite the situation, and I was offered rides on SI a few times and declined - very freaky), and then from the ferry to my office in the Flatiron area and did the reverse coming home, walking up Victory the entire way uphill then along Forest Avenue. I think by day two I said screw this and got cabs where I could, but it was something like $10-15 just from say New Brighton to the ferry after having walked part of the way, then whatever I paid in the City. Expensive endeavor for sure... Funny thing was day one I was like oh this isn't so bad... Even coming back wasn't that bad. lol You couldn't pay me to do that today though... The things we do in our 20s. lol

It's so weird now to feel so strange just looking down the street to see if a bus is coming.  The other day I was waiting for the BxM2 and thinking dammit, here's another no-show, given that just the night before, the BxM1 was MIA.  Turns out the bus wasn't on BusTime which is a rarity, but was also quite late, hence my anxiety.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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3 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

That's a long walk too... When we had the strike back in 2005, I walked from where I lived near Forest Avenue by the SI Zoo, all the way to the ferry (along Richmond Terrace, I think someone actually offered me a ride to the ferry via carpool - I think I declined it - the idea freaked me out despite the situation, and I was offered rides on SI a few times and declined - very freaky), and then from the ferry to my office in the Flatiron area and did the reverse coming home, walking up Victory the entire way uphill then along Forest Avenue. I think by day two I said screw this and got cabs where I could, but it was something like $10-15 just from say New Brighton to the ferry after having walked part of the way, then whatever I paid in the City. Expensive endeavor for sure... Funny thing was day one I was like oh this isn't so bad... Even coming back wasn't that bad. lol You couldn't pay me to do that today though... The things we do in our 20s. lol

It's so weird now to feel so strange just looking down the street to see if a bus is coming.  The other day I was waiting for the BxM2 and thinking dammit, here's another no-show, given that just the night before, the BxM1 was MIA.  Turns out the bus wasn't on BusTime which is a rarity, but was also quite late, hence my anxiety.

Not really - I live behind Curtis High so it’s just 15 minutes doing average.

In a rush, power walking that hill is risking injury.

It’s amazing to me how bad the buses run between 6-7am - miss one and you’re SOL. It runs late? You’re SOL.

And excluding S40, it’s not like they’re SRO - it’s probably just the fact NYCDOT relies on timers instead of road sensors for overnight/early AM traffic. So that makes BusTime invaluable when you gotta get on the yacht for that 8am start.

But it’s so reliable a system - comparatively - that an outage ain’t a big deal. It’s why I didn’t rage at (MTA) on Twitter over missing S52 by a minute this AM.

OAN, I may be getting a real bad 52/42 driver reassigned for deliberately and consistently being late on runs to avoid having a large number of pax during peak...

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