If you're still smarting from the MTA price hike last year, this might make it hurt a little less: on top of New York Governer Andrew Cuomo's plans to completely overhaul the oft-maligned Penn Station terminal, the MTA has introduced a fast track for implementing mobile ticketing, USB charging hubs and subterranean Wi-Fi in all subway stations.
The proposal, which was posted on the New York State website, listed a litany of "technology innovations," which will be the focus of 2016. Among them include a massive expansion of Wi-Fi hotspots, now available in 140 of the 469 in operations (277 of them underground), as well as mobile ticketing via smartphone, which customers will be able to scan instead of swiping a MetroCard. Others listed installing new countdown clocks for commuters to keep tabs on train arrival times, increasing the number of touchscreen kiosks and placing USB ports in subway cars, so that customers can charge their phones on-the-go.
Cuomo was quick to elucidate a new vision: rather than focus on maintenance, these aims will hopefully propel the MTA's focus on innovation.
"The MTA is absolutely vital to the daily functioning of New York City, but for too long it has failed to meet the region's growing size and strength," he stated. "This is about doing more than just repair and maintain — this is thinking bigger and better and building the 21st century transit system New Yorkers deserve. We are modernizing the MTA like never before and improving it for years to come."
While the fast-track is definitely an upgraded initiative, nothing is technically set in stone: despite the announcement, there is currently no concrete timeline for the proposed changes.
Photo: MTA | Flickr