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Nick

trip planner kiosks going away from subway stations, at least some; also neighborhood maps

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The Trip Planners, interactive local maps, and On The Go kiosks in subway stations are becoming scarcer and may disappear altogether. According to the MTA, in an email reply to me after I sent the observation via their MTA.info contact system, touch screens weren't getting much use and, compared to that, maintenance cost was too high. They're adding digital displays, but without interactivity.

I wish the kiosks would simply have been moved a few feet and expanded to all stations and places like Penn Station, and I've suggested that, but I don't know what I would have recommended given low use. I thought they were visible enough to prospective users, and adding marketing would compete against marketing for other purposes, so I don't know what should have been done.

Some kiosks are being displaced by advertising displays that seem to be selling well. I'm glad for the revenue stream helping to pay for the subways.

The trip planner had problems and there wasn't enough program patching going on, it didn't give any directions if the nearest subway or bus was over a mile from the destination (I can walk that and taxis and bikes are unrecognized alternatives), and many stations didn't have trip planner kiosks. All that likely discouraged some subsequent use, but the problems weren't usually unrepairable and I usually could get good location and route info for a destination. The 511 phone system has been far too slow to be of any use to me even when I need it, customer service booth staff for years haven't had maps beyond what the TA gives to the public, my basic phone's browser is virtually useless, and in the U.S. nearly a quarter of adults don't have smartphones.

The Trip Planner is still on the MTA.info website home page. They've replaced the underlying mapping service from Microsoft with Google's and the one or two times I've reported a mapping error to Google Google has been corrective. I generally prefer Google over Microsoft, so I'm glad.

I never figured out who makes the trip planner software itself. I doubt the MTA did. It's likely used by many U.S. cities. The most I've figured out is that some company used to make it but no longer does. When I looked, no one claimed credit for either creating or maintaining it. Someone at the MTA did respond to issues with advice.

Printed neighborhood maps will, I guess, stay on some stations' walls, but not all stations have them. I guess that as stations get renovated those maps will disappear. They probably also won't get updated as street names change (but that isn't often anyway).

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47 minutes ago, Nick said:

The Trip Planners, interactive local maps, and On The Go kiosks in subway stations are becoming scarcer and may disappear altogether. According to the MTA, in an email reply to me after I sent the observation via their MTA.info contact system, touch screens weren't getting much use and, compared to that, maintenance cost was too high. They're adding digital displays, but without interactivity.

I wish the kiosks would simply have been moved a few feet and expanded to all stations and places like Penn Station, and I've suggested that, but I don't know what I would have recommended given low use. I thought they were visible enough to prospective users, and adding marketing would compete against marketing for other purposes, so I don't know what should have been done.

Some kiosks are being displaced by advertising displays that seem to be selling well. I'm glad for the revenue stream helping to pay for the subways.

The trip planner had problems and there wasn't enough program patching going on, it didn't give any directions if the nearest subway or bus was over a mile from the destination (I can walk that and taxis and bikes are unrecognized alternatives), and many stations didn't have trip planner kiosks. All that likely discouraged some subsequent use, but the problems weren't usually unrepairable and I usually could get good location and route info for a destination. The 511 phone system has been far too slow to be of any use to me even when I need it, customer service booth staff for years haven't had maps beyond what the TA gives to the public, my basic phone's browser is virtually useless, and in the U.S. nearly a quarter of adults don't have smartphones.

The Trip Planner is still on the MTA.info website home page. They've replaced the underlying mapping service from Microsoft with Google's and the one or two times I've reported a mapping error to Google Google has been corrective. I generally prefer Google over Microsoft, so I'm glad.

I never figured out who makes the trip planner software itself. I doubt the MTA did. It's likely used by many U.S. cities. The most I've figured out is that some company used to make it but no longer does. When I looked, no one claimed credit for either creating or maintaining it. Someone at the MTA did respond to issues with advice.

Printed neighborhood maps will, I guess, stay on some stations' walls, but not all stations have them. I guess that as stations get renovated those maps will disappear. They probably also won't get updated as street names change (but that isn't often anyway).

Thanks for the interesting information. Can you post the text of the emails? Where did you hear this about the neighborhood maps? 

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The neighborhood maps are available online, and they're horribly out of date anyways, so I suppose nothing of value is being lost.

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The On the Go kiosks were actually useful unlike these garbage screens they're installing now...

The screen resolution is terrible which makes the digital maps basically unreadable and since they're not touch screens you can't move around the map or make it a larger size.

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The platform subway maps at Kew Gardens were removed in the last week, and the new screens were partially installed on the platforms to replace them since Friday. Stupid! One of the old clocks on the Manhattan-bound platform was removed. While I loved the nostalgia, it blocked a countdown clock. I hope that the clocks that aren't in the way are kept.

This was in a presentation about an exhibition at the Transit Museum.

48527521101_7f88d17e78_k.jpgIMG_7190 by Union Turnpike, on Flickr

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I paraphrased from the MTA's email to avoid a copyright issue (@Union_Tpke). A state or local government or agency owns the copyright.

I had asked about the Trip Planner and the neighborhood maps in separate inquiries to MTA.info at about the same time and their reply was only on the former, but I've observed the partial loss of the neighborhood wall maps and so I'm guessing (as stated) that they're on their way out from stations.

If maps online are outdated, please tell MTA.info. However, when I use them, occasionally a street's new name is not on the map, but it's not often. Almost all street names are stable for decades.

Maps being online is not a substitute for their being in stations, where we can't always go online.

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On 9/21/2019 at 7:53 PM, Nick said:

Printed neighborhood maps will, I guess, stay on some stations' walls, but not all stations have them. I guess that as stations get renovated those maps will disappear. They probably also won't get updated as street names change (but that isn't often anyway).

Case in point.

48781410028_2d8999e865_z.jpgScreen Shot 2019-09-22 at 6.28.28 AM by Union Turnpike, on Flickr

52 minutes ago, Nick said:

I had asked about the Trip Planner and the neighborhood maps in separate inquiries to MTA.info at about the same time and their reply was only on the former, but I've observed the partial loss of the neighborhood wall maps and so I'm guessing (as stated) that they're on their way out from stations.

Where have you seen them removed?

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Times Square lost Trip Planners at the entrance on 42 St. slightly west of 7 Av./Broadway, in the space before paying a fare. I think they've disappeared in a few other places I often pass through. When Trip Planners go, it's because the entire On The Go kiosks go, which means their other services also go, including kiosk-based neighborhood maps.


Kiosks come in two kinds, one with a Trip Planner and one without (they're from different contractors), and I'm not sure what's happening with the kiosks without Trip Planners (perhaps someone would like to ask). My guess is that both kinds will go, leaving only what's on the website, and maybe not even that. While it's prominent on the new website, if software maintenance cost is discouraging the MTA, the MTA won't want it anywhere. (Maintenance was definitely needed, including for usability, without which people who are not nerds won't use it.) If that was a discouraging factor, they'll likely revert to a klunky old-fashioned system of street indexes and paper maps for 511 operators, back-room system planners, and so on, with the public having to call 511, and I've had bad experience with slowness with that system.


Neighborhood maps on walls likewise went but I don't remember from which stations. They seem to be absent from stations that have had substantial interior makeovers. In one newly renovated station, something that went up was up in duplicate, presumably as a convenience for users, but without that station having a neighborhood map. I vaguely think that was in Brooklyn, but I'm not sure.

 

On the other hand, digital nontouch neighborhood maps are up in an apparently newly-renovated station at 28 St. on the IRT #6 line in Manhattan.

 

I ride subways as part of work and often go somewhere I infrequently ride to, which makes remembering the stations of weeks ago unlikely. I haven't been in the Bronx or Queens in a long time, so those are probably not what I'm recalling.

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On 9/23/2019 at 8:57 PM, Union Tpke said:

Case in point.

48781410028_2d8999e865_z.jpgScreen Shot 2019-09-22 at 6.28.28 AM by Union Turnpike, on Flickr

Where have you seen them removed?

Ridiculous! So instead of saving money from removing the subway and neighborhood maps, they’re still going to have to spend money to remove the graffiti that will certainly appear on that big white wall. Then again, these guys back in 1981 thought painting the subway cars white would keep graffiti off of them. Well, here’s how that turned out...

https://www.nycsubway.org/perl/show?38404

 

Edited by T to Dyre Avenue
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15 hours ago, T to Dyre Avenue said:

Ridiculous! So instead of saving money from removing the subway and neighborhood maps, they’re still going to have to spend money to remove the graffiti that will certainly appear on that big white wall. Then again, these guys back in 1981 thought painting the subway cars white would keep graffiti off of them. Well, here’s how that turned out...

https://www.nycsubway.org/perl/show?38404

 

Do you see graffiti on the rest of that wall in the before picture? I fail to see how there's going to wind up being even more graffiti.

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5 hours ago, bobtehpanda said:

Do you see graffiti on the rest of that wall in the before picture? I fail to see how there's going to wind up being even more graffiti.

Doesn’t matter what I see in the before picture or not. They wouldn’t just randomly put a picture of graffiti on a wall in a slide show, unless they want to show how effective they can be at removing said graffiti. The point I was trying to make is that a clean, white wall isn’t going to stay clean and white very long, unless it’s cleaned regularly (something this agency has a well known history of not being very good at doing). So maybe it would be better to leave up the subway and neighborhood maps, given that they do provide useful information.

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1 hour ago, T to Dyre Avenue said:

Doesn’t matter what I see in the before picture or not. They wouldn’t just randomly put a picture of graffiti on a wall in a slide show, unless they want to show how effective they can be at removing said graffiti. The point I was trying to make is that a clean, white wall isn’t going to stay clean and white very long, unless it’s cleaned regularly (something this agency has a well known history of not being very good at doing). So maybe it would be better to leave up the subway and neighborhood maps, given that they do provide useful information.

People also mark up neighborhood map holders. And they also get dirty. And the MTA also doesn't clean them.

There are valid reasons to oppose getting rid of the neighborhood maps, but maintenance is not one of them, because the MTA hardly does any cleaning at all!

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4 hours ago, bobtehpanda said:

People also mark up neighborhood map holders. And they also get dirty. And the MTA also doesn't clean them.

There are valid reasons to oppose getting rid of the neighborhood maps, but maintenance is not one of them, because the MTA hardly does any cleaning at all!

Ok, fair enough that people can also mark up the neighborhood map holders and that the MTA doesn’t clean them. But I still feel they and the subway maps do provide useful info to orient people to where they are in the City, especially if reaching for a smartphone and getting online isn’t an option.

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On 9/22/2019 at 5:28 PM, Union Tpke said:

The platform subway maps at Kew Gardens were removed in the last week, and the new screens were partially installed on the platforms to replace them since Friday. Stupid! One of the old clocks on the Manhattan-bound platform was removed. While I loved the nostalgia, it blocked a countdown clock. I hope that the clocks that aren't in the way are kept.

This was in a presentation about an exhibition at the Transit Museum.

IMG_7190 by Union Turnpike, on Flickr

Thanks for taking such diligent photos there – amazing album to go through and see all those details. Tangential, but the details from Trans-Lite's design sketches are incredible. This is generally distressing though: it's a shame to see time-tested devices like the station maps going away, especially when the replacements are a mixture of advertising and information together. I'm also partial to those old clocks, which date to the early 1960s, possibly even late 1950s and are some of the oldest unchanged devices still hanging in a lot of stations. I always knew their days were numbered, but shame to actually see them go.

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6 hours ago, MHV9218 said:

Thanks for taking such diligent photos there – amazing album to go through and see all those details. Tangential, but the details from Trans-Lite's design sketches are incredible. This is generally distressing though: it's a shame to see time-tested devices like the station maps going away, especially when the replacements are a mixture of advertising and information together. I'm also partial to those old clocks, which date to the early 1960s, possibly even late 1950s and are some of the oldest unchanged devices still hanging in a lot of stations. I always knew their days were numbered, but shame to actually see them go.

No problem. They didn't remove the clock in the mezzanine, and I don't think its days are numbered-it doesn't block anything.

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The kiosks at the Second Avenue Subway station have already begun to disappear. The ones at 96th Street have been removed. By extension, the USB ports that were on them are also gone. They almost never worked but hey, a commodity is a commodity. 

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So here’s a question:

If they’re replacing the paper maps with the digital version, why aren’t they putting in a version showing night service and/or weekend service changes?

So like this weekend, (N) is running via Whitehall, and (R) is on 6th Av.

Why not have the digital kiosk maps show those?

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On 9/29/2019 at 10:56 AM, Cabanamaner said:

The kiosks at the Second Avenue Subway station have already begun to disappear. The ones at 96th Street have been removed. By extension, the USB ports that were on them are also gone. They almost never worked but hey, a commodity is a commodity. 

Why they removed Kiosks in Second Avenue Subway??

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