Countdown clocks and after

It’s finally happened, almost all of the IRT (apart from the 7) has received countdown clocks and they’re working pretty well, with a hiccup every once and a while. They may be up to four years late and well over-budget, but they’re certainly a welcome improvement to New York’s unfortunately outdated system technology.

That brings up the question of improving technology on the subway. Quite frankly it takes too long and is too expensive. Yet it’s also mired in controversy. At times I can’t help but wonder as to why people wouldn’t want to adopt OPTO, improved automation, and more. Apart from the unions, who only seem interested in squandering the MTA’s budget (and I have no qualms about criticising them for it) and blocking necessary improvements to keep the subway even close to competitive with other systems worldwide, it seems as though die-hard fans of the subway want to keep the feeling of nostalgia. Go to a forum and you’ll see a slew of comments against new rolling stock or feeling as though having only one person operation somehow reduces the subway “experience.” It’s sad, because these are the people who should actively be pushing for improved technology so that others can enjoy, or at least not complain nearly as much, about the subway.

The MTA is set to automate and put CBTC into place on the Queens Boulevard Line after it finishes with the Flushing Line. I say start working now. Ancient signals are a hazard because they can’t easily be replaced, nor do they allow for increased capacity. Implementing improved signalling systems will reduce delays, improve passenger flow, and aid in bringing real-time information to the B Division. This should be one of the agency’s priorities, not something on the side when there’s enough money.

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