MTA to Unveil New High-Tech Intercoms in Subway Stations

By Jonathan Eiseman
|  Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010  |  Updated 8:55 AM EDT
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MTA to Unveil New High-Tech Intercoms in Subway Stations

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The MTA announced a pilot program today that would bring new high-tech intercoms to subway stations that could be used by passengers in case of an emergency -- or if you get lost.

The new devices, called Help Point Intercoms or HPIs, will actually use the existing infrastructure of the current intercom system -- which can be hard to find -- and will be posted every 150 feet or so. They will be recognizable by a glowing blue light.

And they're not just for bad news.

The HPIs have a red emergency button, which will transfer you to the Rail Control center -- but they also have a green button, which will transfer you to Travel Information or to the nearest station operator, from whom you can ask for directions or other subway information.

The pilot program will begin sometime in late October or early November, officials said, and will be found on the Lexington Avenue line at the 23 Street and Brooklyn Bridge stations. If the program is successful, the HPIs could be found in subway stations all across the city.

Officials hope the placement of the intercoms will make it easier for someone to reach officials in an emergency, such as someone falling or being pushed to the tracks.

The Help Point Intercoms will also come with a camera in the device, which would allow dispatchers to see the caller and where they are calling from.

"We have designed the HPI to be a major step beyond the Customer Assistance Intercoms that passengers may see in stations now,” said NYC Transit President Thomas Prendergast in a statement. “Make no mistake, this device represents impressive 21st century technology and it demonstrates our ability to incorporate it into a system that is more than 100 years old.”

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