While stations will still have to wait for countdown clocks, riders at six stations along the N and Q lines can expect audio announcement systems, some of which have already been installed.
According to Acting NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco, the announcement systems could take three to five years for implementation at all six stations.
“The stations will bring real time arrival information that will enhance the experiences of our customers here in Astoria,” Bianco said. “Our overall goal moving forward is to develop similar capabilities on our lettered lines to offer customers the same level of information they see on the numbered lines.”
Ditmars, Broadway and 39th Avenue stations will be the first three stations to see improvements beginning in 2014. Additional stations will see improvements begin in 2015, assuming the MTA’s capital program gets the proper funding.
Bianco added that there is additional work that needs to be done at the stations as well.
“It’s staircases, it’s canopies, it’s platform edges, platform work where it’s necessary and benches,” she said.
State Senator Michael Gianaris stood at the subway station at 30th Avenue and 31st Street alongside Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. and Riders Alliance members to announce the new announcement system last week.
“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,” Gianaris said.
Gianaris first sent a letter to NYC Transit in October of 2010 requesting countdown clocks.
According to Lauren Houston, a member of the Riders Alliance’s Astoria and Long Island City branch, the improvements are especially needed at above ground stations.
“Waiting on an elevated platform in the dead of winter or the dog days of summer is no fun,” Houston said. “With the new loudspeaker announcements, I’ll know exactly when the next train is coming and how long I need to brave the elements.”
Vallone assured that he and Gianaris would continue to fight for improvements along Queens train stations.
“It’s not easy to get these kinds of things done, but this is a good start,” Vallone said. “We’re going to work together to get the countdown clocks, but these are good for now.”