Straphangers Stumped by Poorly Timed Countdown Clocks at 2nd Avenue Stations

What to Know

  • Commuters are miffed about the Second Avenue Subway's poorly timed countdown clocks
  • The new clocks rely on a transmitter to tell them arrival times for trains, which most letter trains aren't equipped with
  • The MTA asks that riders be patient as they continue installing the new technology on trains and other stations

The new smell still hasn't worn off at the gleaming new Second Avenue Subway stations about 75 days into their existence.

However, the novelty of the subway's countdown clocks have worn thin for riders, many of who have noticed lately that something doesn't smell right when it comes to the times listed when they enter the turnstiles and at the new platform kiosks displaying the time of the next train.

"I notice it will say one minute, then three minutes, then six," said Sam Copeland of the Upper East Side.

Copeland isn't imagining things. News 4 Investigates has learned that while these stations do have countdown clocks, they aren't the same as the ones riders have seen for years on the numbered subway lines.

The Second Avenue Subway displays use new technology; unless the trains themselves have a transmitter for the machines to sense their location, the times commuters are seeing are only estimates, not exact times. Some straphangers find this confusing.

"It's more of an inconvenience than a convenience," said Lorraine Englehardt of Chelsea. "They should have just waited until it was done."

The lettered lines, built with different size trains, have never been configured for real time data. The kiosks are part of a pilot program.

The MTA said riders should be patient. A spokesman for the agency told 4 Investigates that "this is part of the Governor's directive to expedite bringing countdown clocks to the rest of the system. Installation of the technology on trains and other stations is ongoing."

Until the transit agency can get the clocks right, commuters will have rely on their own countdowns to make their trains in time.

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