High-tech NYC subway? Cuomo unveils USB ports, Wi-Fi, station upgrades
Plan includes more surveillance cameras
Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a long list of proposed improvements to the city’s transit system at a press conference in Downtown Brooklyn’s Transit Museum on Friday morning.
The governor’s proposal – the eighth of his 2016 agenda — includes expanded Wi-Fi and new USB charging ports, more subway station countdown clocks, replacement subway cars and upgrading 30 subway stations, eight in Brooklyn. Work on the majority of these 30 stations will be completed by 2018, and all will be finished by 2020.
The USB ports on subway trains, buses and in stations will allow customers to charge their mobile devices. The governor also intends to accelerate mobile payments and ticketing to replace the MetroCard.
More than 140 underground subway stations already have cellphone, data and Wi-Fi service. Under the plan, all 277 underground subway stations will have Wi-Fi service by the end of 2016, and cellphone service will be available in all of them early in the following year.
Charging ports will be installed on 200 subway cars this year and 400 next year, while all new buses delivered starting later this year will have Wi-Fi hotspots.
More surveillance cameras are coming as well, the governor said. By the end of this capital program, 85 percent of the bus fleet will have surveillance cameras installed. The MTA will also test installing surveillance cameras in subway cars for the first time later this year.
The governor said the five-year, $29 billion plan will build “the 21st century transit system New Yorkers deserve.”
Cuomo was joined by MTA Chairman and CEO Tom Prendergast, who explained how the improvements would be implemented.
“We’ll accomplish this by incorporating the Governor’s suggestions to use alternative delivery methods such as design-build, leveraging private-sector expertise through public-private partnerships, and streamlining our procurement processes to ensure the entire MTA is focused on delivering improvements to the people who rely on us every day,” Prendergast said.
In design-build procurement, a single contractor is held accountable for cost, schedule and performance. Prendergast said that subway stations will be closed “to give contractors unfettered access with a singular focus – get in, get done and get out.”
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