The future of mass transit is coming to seven subway stations here in our borough.
On Friday, January 8, Governor Cuomo announced his proposed redesign and renewal of 30 existing subway stations across the MTA system.
The Bronx stations that have been singled out are: East 174th-East 175th Street, East 167th Street, Westchester Square-East Tremont Avenue, Third Avenue-East 138th Street, Brook Avenue, Hunts Point Avenue and Esplanade-Pelham Parkway.
Technology initiatives will be introduced into all the stations such as expanded Wi-Fi hotspots, the acceleration of mobile payments and ticketing to phase out MetroCards and providing USB ports on subways trains, buses and in stations, allowing customers to charge their mobile devices during their daily commute.
According to the MTA, mobile payment will allow riders to pay their fares by waving a cellphone or bank card over contactless readers. This feature will be implemented for subways and buses in 2018.
Other technological improvements include installing additional countdown clocks to deliver real-time arrival data on all subways lines.
Countdown clocks have proven successful for the 1, 2, 3, 4, ,5 ,6 and L subway lines and the MTA will begin installing them on the 7 line in addition to lettered subway lines in 2016.
According to an MTA spokeswoman, the MTA is looking at best practices to accelerate station projects moving forward while working with the community and its elected officials about how to best accommodate the closure portion of the station renewals.
She added these stations will be closed for six to eight weeks allowing contractors unfettered access with a singular focus of “get in, get done and get out” as quickly as possible.
The MTA said subway stations in the renewal project will be overhauled and the scope of those projects for each station is still being determined at this point, as are the work schedules.
Some of the stations already have cellphone and Wi-Fi service, however those which lack this feature will have it by early 2017, she confirmed.
The work duration at each of the stations will last between six to 12 months, according to the MTA.
Local elected and community leaders shared their views on the upcoming project.
“As the former chairman of the Transportation Committee, I can say that New York State for years has deferred or postponed subway infrastructure renewals going as far back as the 1980s,” said Councilman James Vacca. “With this proposal, Governor Cuomo is really taking the bull by the horns and it is a significant step in addressing the modern needs of the MTA and our residents who rely on this service daily.”
Dr. Ian Amritt, Community Board 2 chairman, believes the selection of Hunts Point Avenue Station for renewal is an indication of progress within the district.
“I believe these renovations will help make the MTA system more accessible to all of our residents especially the elderly and disabled,” said Dr. Amritt. “The added technological initiatives slated for Hunts Point Avenue Station are needed because people depend heavily on technology.”
While pleased with the MTA’s selection, he hopes they will look into other CB 2 stations which have fallen below standard such as the Longwood Avenue and East 149th Street stations.