Tag Archives: Transportation

MTA ‘On the Go’ Info

| rcasiano@queenscourier.com


The MTA is testing touch-screen displays that would be installed at subway stations in the city, including one in Queens, in an effort to provide commuters with easier access to vital information without the need of a computer.

So far, one On the Go! Travel Station is up in Manhattan and four more will be rolled out at four other subway and commuter rail hubs in the city. The Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue station is expected to get a new touch screen in a couple of weeks, according to a spokesperson from the MTA.

“With On the Go, we are adding yet another layer of state-of-the-art customer communications into our subway system,” said MTA NYC Transit President Thomas F. Prendergast, at the launch of the MTA’s new touch-screens at Manhattan’s Bowling Green station on September 19. “On the Go will provide riders with instant information that makes using the transit system more efficient.”

The 47-inch colorful displays will show commuters information about trips and will include real-time train service status, escalator and elevator status and local neighborhood maps as well as access to the online trip planner service. In addition, news and weather information will be featured on the screen as well.

These travel stations are supported by ads and third-party applications “mycity” and “Zagats” that add local history, shopping and dining options and more to the On the Go displays.

Besides Queens, more displays will be added to Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, and Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street in Brooklyn. The displays may expand to additional subways stations throughout the city if the On the Go stations are successful and well received by customers, a spokesperson for the MTA said.

The new displays were designed by Antenna Design New York Inc. for the MTA and they use the Cisco Interactive Services Solutions software.

Bus Stopped

| bdoda@queenscourier.com


DOE tell parents one day before class school buses are cut

“There’s no switch you can flip that says you’re mature now,” said one angry mom to Department of Education (DOE) officials, who informed parents one day before the start of the new school year at William H. Carr Junior High School (J.H.S. 194) that buses for seventh and eighth graders have been slashed.
Now, her 12-year-old son who attends the Whitestone school will have to rely on city transportation, much to the angst of parents in College Point who say they have lost some peace of mind.

In years past, school bus operations for seventh and eighth graders throughout the city were limited to those who lived one-and-a-half or more miles away from a specific school. Many students who used to get bused in from College Point – where they lack both a junior high school and a high school – are now taking multiple city buses each day to attend class at J.H.S. 194. Due to a miscommunication at the Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) over the summer, the notice that the school-wide bus variances were elimated throughout the city did not come until 24 hours before the first day of school, on September 8, forcing many parents to coordinate rides or teach their children the city bus system – very quickly.

“Let’s remember that we are talking about 11, 12 and 13 year olds,” said Assemblymember-elect Michael Simanowitz to concerned parents at J.H.S. 194. “We are living in a time when we are trying to encourage kids to go to school and to do their homework and be involved with school activities. When you have to take three busses to go to school and to get home, that’s not encouraging.”

Also in attendence were Assemblymember Ed Braunstein along with Councilmember Dan Halloran, who called the zero-hour announcement by the OPT and DOE “unacceptable.”

Each of the elected officials at the meeting instructed parents to fill out variance requests provided by Eric Goldstein, OPT chief operating officer, and Robert Carney, OPT chief of staff. Through the variance, parents or guardians must fill out a form including hazardous conditions along the route to school or to a public bus stop or subway station; emergency circumstances such as victimization, joint custody or temporary homelessness; or disagreement with the DOE’s measurement of distance from home to school.

But what parents seemed more worried about were the potential for sexual predators on city buses, the crossing of six-lane streets to bus stops and other safety concerns.

“She’s a nervous wreck,” said a parent of a seventh grader. “She has anxiety taking the bus. Does that qualify her as a special needs child? I’m not a happy camper. I think this is so wrong what they did here.”

“For years, on the issue of student transportation, the DOE has gone above and beyond what the state requires, offering busing to students who would not ordinarily be eligible,” said a DOE spokesperson. “In September 2010, the DOE discontinued these variances for about 5,000 students in 71 schools across the city . . . public and private school students no longer receive pupil transportation, but are eligible for student MetroCards. We eliminated all those granted to schools because of the tight budget. However, individuals, based on where they live, may still qualify for a variance by applying for one. We eliminated the variance that says ‘you qualify if you attend the school.’ We will work closely with the schools and the MTA to ensure that all affected students apply and receive student MetroCards for which they are eligible.”