I knew it wouldn't work in NYC

Discussion relating to the past and present operations of the NYC Subway, PATH, and Staten Island Railway (SIRT).

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Head-end View
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I knew it wouldn't work in NYC

Post by Head-end View » Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:38 pm

Many months ago we talked about problems on the R-143, & R-160 fleets with the electronic route maps and variable message displays. And I said back then that I didn't think the TA would be able to maintain that sophisticated and probably delicate electronic equipment on such a huge fleet in NYC's rugged operating environment.

So.....yesterday at Queensboro Plaza I boarded a Manhattan-bound N train, lead car #8653. The strip/route map was displaying correctly. But the variable messsage displays inside the car were saying that this train was going to Astoria-Ditmars (wrong direction) and the next stop was 57th St/7th Ave. when it was actually Lexington Ave/60th St.

Now, as a New Yorker I could tell which was correct and which wasn't. But I wonder how the tourist from Europe or some other part of the US is supposed to make sense of this and find his way around a very confusing subway system, when the displays on the train give wrong/conflicting information. If this is the best the TA can do, they should have stuck with paper strip maps, and having the conductors make the announcements.

Like I said in previous chats about this, I knew they wouldn't be able to maintain these systems in proper working order. These cars are still new. Imagine what it will be like in 10 years? I only ride about once a month. Is this a common problem on the R-160 fleet nowadays, or was this an isolated incident?

Launcher
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Re: I knew it wouldn't work in NYC

Post by Launcher » Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:48 am

I've never experienced such a problem with it in New York, for any of the dozens of trips I've ridden. I have heard wrong stops announced by the computers on SEPTA's new fleet though, as well as on their Elevated subway, frequently. Does the driver have control over the automated system and the station announcements?

Patrick Boylan
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Re: I knew it wouldn't work in NYC

Post by Patrick Boylan » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:26 am

Even if the train operator has control over the machine that doesn't mean they'll take control, or even if they do that they'll do any better. One can hope though.

I remember in Philadelphia's early years of public address systems on its Kawasaki trolley cars in the early 1980's a motorman would announce 'University Avenue' for one of the University of Pennsylvania stops. That subway tunnel had never gone under University Ave since it was built in the 1950's and the trolley routes had never used University Ave even when they were streetcars, the stops had always been 37th and Spruce St and 36th and Sansom St's.
I mentioned it to the motorman about the 3rd time or so that I heard him make the announcement, he claimed I was wrong.

Kamen Rider
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Location: NYC

Re: I knew it wouldn't work in NYC

Post by Kamen Rider » Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:25 pm

Head-end View wrote:Many months ago we talked about problems on the R-143, & R-160 fleets with the electronic route maps and variable message displays. And I said back then that I didn't think the TA would be able to maintain that sophisticated and probably delicate electronic equipment on such a huge fleet in NYC's rugged operating environment.

So.....yesterday at Queensboro Plaza I boarded a Manhattan-bound N train, lead car #8653. The strip/route map was displaying correctly. But the variable messsage displays inside the car were saying that this train was going to Astoria-Ditmars (wrong direction) and the next stop was 57th St/7th Ave. when it was actually Lexington Ave/60th St.

Now, as a New Yorker I could tell which was correct and which wasn't. But I wonder how the tourist from Europe or some other part of the US is supposed to make sense of this and find his way around a very confusing subway system, when the displays on the train give wrong/conflicting information. If this is the best the TA can do, they should have stuck with paper strip maps, and having the conductors make the announcements.

Like I said in previous chats about this, I knew they wouldn't be able to maintain these systems in proper working order. These cars are still new. Imagine what it will be like in 10 years? I only ride about once a month. Is this a common problem on the R-160 fleet nowadays, or was this an isolated incident?
It's not a common problem. you said it yourself, you've in the city once a month, last person to judge. You'd like them to go back to paper signs? ok, we'll go back, and then we'll have people fuzing with them so you can't tell what train it is anyway, since that used to be a problem.

I seriosuly think you need to accept that this is 2011, not 1950. and that the ecectronic equipment is here to stay.
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djlong
Posts: 716
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Re: I knew it wouldn't work in NYC

Post by djlong » Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:22 am

It would be interesting to see how often it happens.

I've ridden the Red/Silver Line combination in Boston from Logan Airport to Alewife TWICE in the past year. BOTH times, the systems for announcing and displaying the stations were malfunctioning on BOTH vehicles. The MBTA in Boston seems to have a horrible reputation on these pieces of equipment. Now, I don't know how bad it is on the MTA but it doesn't have to malfunction often to be considered bad tech.

...for what it's worth, I've ridden the NY subways a couple of times in the last two years and haven't seen such a problem.

hi55us
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Re: I knew it wouldn't work in NYC

Post by hi55us » Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:10 pm

djlong wrote:It would be interesting to see how often it happens.

I've ridden the Red/Silver Line combination in Boston from Logan Airport to Alewife TWICE in the past year. BOTH times, the systems for announcing and displaying the stations were malfunctioning on BOTH vehicles. The MBTA in Boston seems to have a horrible reputation on these pieces of equipment. Now, I don't know how bad it is on the MTA but it doesn't have to malfunction often to be considered bad tech.

...for what it's worth, I've ridden the NY subways a couple of times in the last two years and haven't seen such a problem.
As a daily commuter on the C/E line I've found that the E trains (which use the new cars) are correct 80% of the time. I find it impossible to hear the announcements on the old C cars, so I guess its better to have the new cars even if they don't work correctly 100% of the time.

RailBus63
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Re: I knew it wouldn't work in NYC

Post by RailBus63 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:27 am

Head-end View wrote: These cars are still new. Imagine what it will be like in 10 years? I only ride about once a month. Is this a common problem on the R-160 fleet nowadays, or was this an isolated incident?
The R142’s have been in service for over a decade on the IRT and most of the recorded announcements work fine in those cars.

Fred Rabin
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Location: Providence, RI

Re: I knew it wouldn't work in NYC

Post by Fred Rabin » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:33 pm

One of the nice things about Toronto's streetcars is that the motorperson personally announces, through a microphone, each stop. 100% accurate.
Fred R

ExCon90
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Re: I knew it wouldn't work in NYC

Post by ExCon90 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:50 pm

Fred Rabin wrote:One of the nice things about Toronto's streetcars is that the motorperson personally announces, through a microphone, each stop. 100% accurate.
It may be accurate, but is it High-Tech? Is it State-of-the-Art? Is it Cutting-Edge? I remember a long-time transportation official commenting that "obsolete" means "anything that works."

GP38
Posts: 225
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Re: I knew it wouldn't work in NYC

Post by GP38 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:44 pm

I don't really see this as an ongoing problem. I have only had the wrong messages displayed occasionally.

Kamen Rider
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Re: I knew it wouldn't work in NYC

Post by Kamen Rider » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:46 pm

have any of you ever heard of Mr. Woodosai..?
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litz
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Re: I knew it wouldn't work in NYC

Post by litz » Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:36 pm

MARTA, here in Atlanta, has automated announcements, just like almost every other transit system out there.

I have heard operators override (sometimes cutting it off mid-word) the automated system to make a personal station announcement on almost every trip I've been on the system.

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