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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority unveiled its newest class of subway cars during an open house at the Hudson Yards station on Thursday, allowing the public to tour the sleek trains and provide feedback to officials. In order to reduce delays and speed up boarding time, the new R211 cars feature 58-inch door spans, eight inches wider than doors on existing cars. As part of a pilot program, some of the initial cars will be equipped with open gangways, which are accordion-like walls located at the ends of cars. This technology aims to let straphangers move freely between cars and reduce overcrowding. While some of the city’s buses already have the open gangway, it remains unclear whether subway straphangers will enjoy this sometimes-wobbly section of the car.
The new cars also have digital displays which will provide more accurate, real-time updates about service and stations. Trains also feature grab rails with double poles, brighter lighting and better signage.
Customers will be able to tour the new car designs at the Hudson Yards-34th Street 7-line station beginning Thursday until December 6th. During the week between 11 am and 7 pm and on the weekend between 10 am and 5 pm, check out the new cars and provide feedback to MTA staff who will be there handing out surveys.
“Developing a first-in-class subway car is an essential part of modernizing our subway system,” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said in a press release. “It is important that our subway customers provide their feedback in this process and we hope they will do so after visiting the prototype.”
As part of its NYC Subway Action Plan, the MTA has made a series of improvements. Last month, the authority refurbished some E-trains and removed seats to squeeze in more riders. They also distributed roughly 230 iPhone 6s devices to some of its platform workers and train operators to improve communication with commuters.
Delivery of the new R211 cars to be tested will begin in 2020, operating on the “B Division” which includes the numbered routes and the Staten Island Railway.
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