Straphangers rejoice! As unveiled by Governor Cuomo at the NYC Transit Museum in Brooklyn today, the MTA has announced plans to build 1,025 new subway cars, and to modernize 31 of the city’s more than 400 stations. In addition to the majority of these cars taking on the globally-favored “open car end” format, they will also boast wider doors, Wi-fi, USB ports, improved lighting, cell service, full color digital information displays, security cameras for passenger safety, and interestingly, a new color palette—yes, Cuomo has also taken to branding the cars in New York’s state colors, blue and gold.
According to a press release from the Governor’s office, 31 subway stations will receive full renovations, while 170 will get “component and renewal work.” Big ticket improvements will include real-time updates for on-time performance at subway entrances, digital signage/way-finding, USB ports integrated into built-in furniture, countdown clocks, announcement screens, enhanced lighting, art installations, and easy to clean floors and finishes. The MTA also plans on swapping those unsightly prison-like iron bars for glass partitions. Additionally, renovations will consider the historical significance of each station.
As for the cars, 750 of the 1,025 promised will be gangway-style subways which, as 6sqft previously reported, could increase capacity by 8-10 percent and decrease wait times. Per a computer simulation of passenger flow conducted on behalf of the MTA, the design’s proposed wider doors (from 50 inches to 58 inches) have the potential to reduce train “dwell time” in a station by 32 percent. In addition to the abovementioned, cars will also feature digital ads, illuminated door opening alerts, and LED headlights.
Requests for proposals (RFP) for a design-build contract for the first three stations (Prospect Avenue Station, 53rd Street Station, and the Bay Ridge Avenue Station) will be issued this week. According to the governor’s office, “The MTA is using design-build contracts to expedite the process and ensure the shortest timeframe for project completion.” An RFP for the construction of the 1,025 new subway cars will also be released later this week, and like the stations, will give priority to proposals that focus on timing and cost-effectiveness. The first contract is anticipated to be awarded this fall.
The upgrades are part of the $27 billion capital plan that was finally approved by Albany in May after more than a year of squabbling between the state and the city.
In a statement, Governor Cuomo said:
New York deserves a world-class transportation network, worthy of its role as the heartbeat of the 21st century economy. The MTA design team developed a bold and visionary reimagining of the quintessential commuter experience, incorporating best practices from global transit systems, and focusing on our core mission to renew, enhance and expand. We are going to do more than renovate—we are bringing subway stations to a higher standard than ever before, and the new vision for subway cars will increase capacity and reduce overcrowding and delays.
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