Governor Andrew Cuomo is pushing for big changes to the public transportation system in NYC. Most of the updates will be welcome, but we might have to go through hell in order to get there. Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening with MTA in the next few years:
1. MetroCards Will Be Phased Out
By 2018, you’ll be able to store your MetroCard on your phone. You can enter by waving a bar code on the phone screen in front of a detector. LIRR and Metro North will get this ticketing system as early as the next 6 months.
2. You’ll Know When Your Train Is Coming
Well, mostly. Countdown clocks for letter train and the 7 should arrive this year. It’s not clear how significant a change this is, because some stations already have screens telling you when the next trains are coming, and you can use your subway app or google maps to find out, if you have service.
3. You’ll Have Service Underground
Cuomo promised system-wide WiFi by the end of the year, and actual cell phone service in the subway by 2017. We’re not too sure how we feel about this one; it will be great to be able to text your friends that you’re running late if your train gets stopped, but do we really want people yakking on their cell phones for their entire commute?
4. You’ll Be Able To Charge Your Phone
The governor also wants 200 subway cars with USB charging stations by the end of this year, and 400 more cars next year. Again, convenient…but can you imagine the bloodthirsty rush to get to those outlets?
5. Your Subway Stop Might Get Shut Down For A Year
Thirty subway stations are going to be “re-envisioned” by 2020. This “re-envisioning” may amount to no more than new lights, new signs, and more of those big touch screen maps, but in order to accomplish it, the subway stations undergoing renovations are going to be completely shut down for 6 to 12 months.
6. Don’t Expect The 2nd Ave Subway Line Any Time Soon
Despite the governor’s assertion that he doesn’t want to feel “like a sardine” for his commute, he made no promises to facilitate the construction of another subway line to serve the east side of Manhattan. Tunnel boring for Phase II of the mythical 2nd Ave subway line is projected to start no sooner than 2019, after $1 billion of funding was cut from the project last year.
Cover photo credit: MTA/Flickr