Governor Cuomo to Transform the Subway With Free Wi-Fi, USB Chargers, and Mobile Payment

January 11, 2016

Is there anything in NYC that Governor Cuomo does like? He started his crusade to overhaul our infrastructure back in July when he revealed renderings for a $4 billion update to LaGuardia Airport. But this past week he pulled out all the stops, starting with a $3 billion redevelopment of Penn Station, a $1 billion expansion of the Javits Center, and now, a massive undertaking to “modernize and fundamentally transform” the MTA and the subway. Curbed reports that the Governor’s latest plan includes expediting the addition of more countdown clocks, adding contactless payment by 2018, equipping all stations with Wi-Fi by the end of this year and cell phone service by the end of 2017, and outfitting both subways and buses with USB chargers.

The countdown clock initiative will start as early as this year along the 7 and lettered lines, and it’s expected that 4,000 subway cars and 1,500 buses will get the USB ports. The new payment system will allow riders to use a QR code on their smartphone in lieu of a MetroCard. Additionally, the plan includes a revamp of 30 subway stations, so that they’ll be easier to navigate by 2020. This last bit, however, comes with some unfavorable news: To get the job done, the stations in question will be closed for six to twelve months, instead of just on nights and weekends (h/t Gothamist). Here’s a map of the 30 stations:

MTA Station closures

In a press release Governor Cuomo said, “This is about doing more than just repair and maintain, this is thinking bigger and better and building the 21st century transit system New Yorkers deserve. We are modernizing the MTA like never before and improving it for years to come.” But he hasn’t specified where the funding would come from, and to make the plans a reality, the state would have to approve the MTA’s capital program. Some skeptics also argue that finishing the Second Avenue Subway and dealing with delays and overcrowding are more important than charging a cell phone.

[Via Curbed and Gothamist]


All images via Governor Cuomo

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