Tag Archives: Countdown clocks

Katz provides $200K for countdown clocks at Queens’ busiest bus stops

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Robert Pozarycki

Where’s the bus? That common question among Queens commuters will be answered with countdown clocks set to be installed at the borough’s 10 busiest bus stops within the next two years.

Borough President Melinda Katz announced on Tuesday she allocated $200,000 in the city’s 2016 fiscal year budget to the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) for the purchase and installation of the real-time devices that track the estimated time of arrival for buses.

While the MTA oversees the bus system, the DOT is responsible for the countdown clocks and other bus-related infrastructure such as signage and shelters.

“Countdown clocks eliminate the anxiety of waiting for the unknown, a feeling familiar to every traveler,” Katz said in a statement. “They’ll add more predictability to any commute and will be a boon for thousands of riders in a borough that boasts some of the longest commutes to and from work.”

The DOT, through analyzing data such as ridership levels, commuter transfers, proximity to prominent facilities and dependency of bus service, will recommend to the MTA and Katz which 10 locations will receive the countdown clocks. The final locations will be determined through conversations among Katz, the DOT and the MTA.

Judged solely on activity, it figures that at least a few of the countdown clocks will be installed at transit hubs along some of Queens’ 10 busiest bus routes. According to MTA statistics, the Q58 led all other borough bus ridership in 2014, with 9,787,420 customers. The Q58, which runs between Ridgewood and Flushing, connects riders at both ends to local subway lines and intersects with Queens Boulevard, where M and R train service is available at the Grand Avenue station.

Other heavily traveled bus routes in Queens include the Q44 route between Jamaica and the Bronx, which passes through Flushing (9,240,459 riders in 2014); the Q10 between Kew Gardens and JFK Airport (7,511,855); the Q46 bus between Forest Hills and New Hyde Park (6,594,164); and the Q53 limited line between Woodside and the Rockaways (5,140,345).

The clocks are scheduled to be installed and activated in 2017. Currently, riders can find information on bus locations through the MTA’s BusTime program, available online and through a mobile app.


Five Astoria subway stations get system announcing train arrival time

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Benjamin Fang


Listen up riders.

The MTA installed an automated system that tells straphangers when the next train will arrive in five Astoria stations.

The announcement systems were added at the 39th Avenue, 36th Avenue, Broadway, 30th Avenue and Astoria Boulevard stations along the N and Q lines.

“I am pleased the MTA listened to our community and made the daily commute of N and Q train riders easier,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris, who has advocated for a countdown information system in western Queens since 2010. “Countdown clocks were a great idea three years ago and although it took some time, I am pleased to see that western Queens will now be able to enjoy real-time information.”

Acting New York City Transit president Carmen Bianco hopes lettered train lines will develop similar capabilities in the next three to five years. But in the meantime the voice systems are an upgrade.

“Waiting on an elevated platform in the dead of winter or the dog days of summer is no fun,” said Lauren Houston, a member of the Riders Alliance, an advocacy organization fighting for better public transportation. “With the new loudspeaker announcements I’ll know exactly when the next train is coming and how long I need to brave the elements.”

Local commuters said they like the new audio installment, but would prefer the countdown clocks on the screens.

“I wish it was the visual,” said Astoria resident Jose Luaces. “But it’s better than not having them.”

Additional reporting by Zack Kraehling