Civic News

Cuomo announces plans for WiFi, USB chargers, other high-tech subway stuff

And the first upgrades are happening in Brooklyn.

Plans for new subway cars include WiFi, phone chargers and more.

(Courtesy image)

The days of not having internet on the subway are limited, a plan announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday indicates.
The governor unveiled renderings and specifics on a mondo subway upgrade complete with WiFi, USB chargers, open gangways between subway cars to increase capacity, and wider doors for commuters to more easily spill out of.
Stations will also get an upgrade, with better cell service, WiFi, train countdown clocks, better lighting, new flooring, contemporary art and more.
The first three stations to be upgraded will be the Prospect Avenue Station, the 53rd Street Station and the Bay Ridge Avenue Station. The MTA will issue a request for proposals on the work for these stations by the end of the week. The stations will be closed for no longer than six months, as they are upgraded, according to the MTA.

Rendering of new subway stations, with cell service and phone chargers.

Rendering of new subway stations, with cell service and phone chargers. (Courtesy image)


In all, the upgrades will include 31 stations and 1,025 new train cars, which will be part of the MTA’s $27 billion five-year capital program.
“New York deserves a world-class transportation network, worthy of its role as the heartbeat of the 21st century economy,” Cuomo said in the announcement. “The MTA design team developed a bold and visionary reimagining of the quintessential commuter experience, incorporating best practices from global transit systems, and focusing on our core mission to renew, enhance and expand.


Here’s the full rundown of what the MTA is looking for in its upcoming RFPs:

  • Open Car End Design: The MTA anticipates that out of 1,025 new cars, up to 750 will feature an Open Car End designed. The Open Car End design replaces the door between cars with an accordion-like connector in order to create longer, open spaces, allowing for greater passenger flow movement and increasing capacity in the process. These cars have become an international standard: in London 31 percent of cars will be Open Car End by the end of the year; in Paris the figure climbs to 37 percent; and in Toronto to 56 percent.
  • Wider Doors: The door width of the new cars will be expanded from the current MTA standard of 50 inches to 58 inches. Wider subway doors can reduce delays by allowing customers to enter and exit more quickly, and have become an international standard. According to a computer simulation of passenger flow conducted on behalf of the MTA, in crowded scenarios wider doors can reduce a train’s ‘dwell time’ in the station by 32 percent.
  • Customer Amenities & Security: The interior of new cars will also feature a host of new amenities, including WiFi, USB chargers, full color digital customer information displays, digital advertisements, illuminated door opening alerts and security cameras to promote passenger safety.
  • Exterior Features: Design elements for the exterior of the new subway cars include a new blue front with large windows, LED headlights, and a blue stripe with gold accents along the sides.

And in its stations:

  • Enhanced lighting throughout the stations;
  • Improved signage to make it easier for customers to navigate stations, including digital, real-time updates on on-time performance at subway entrances, before customers even enter the station;
  • Inclusion of amenities, such as count down clocks, improved cellular connectivity, Wi-Fi and new art; and
  • Renovations will also consider the architectural legacy of each station, and remain sensitive to historical elements as the stations undergo redesign.
Companies: MTA
People: Andrew Cuomo
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