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

Moderator: GirlOnTheTrain

  by bellstbarn
When I attended the July 26, 2011, meeting of the NYC Transit Riders Council, I resolved not to speak out, and I didn't. Two council members and one gadfly chewed up some of the two hours. However, the principal speaker, a man in charge of installing the countdown clocks, informed the audience much, and he seemed looking for improvements on the installation of the clocks. For instance, I caught a determination to place one countdown device outside the fare control area, so that a person who saw extensive delays in the direction he wished to travel, could walk the distance or take a bus. It soon became obvious that the dispatching systems differed on lines, so that in general Routes 1 to 6 could indicate the minutes until a specific train arrived, while the Division B signs were limited to saying that a downtown express was at the previous station.
Only after the explanation on this thread did I realize that the Interborough countdown clocks were a beneficial result of a problematic dispatching system! Friends near Norwood and Bedford Park have remarked how bad the usually swift Jerome Avenue line has become, especially southbound in morning peak service. (That was going to be my sole comment of the day, if I sensed an opportunity.) I had blamed the #4 delays on the merger of #5 trains with the #4's, with the imperative that the 5's get their tail out of 149th Grand Concourse before they screw the #2 service. Now I realize it is also a question of timely identification of trains at junctions and prompt routing. Is the drift of my thought correct?
After the council meeting, I headed to Brook Avenue on the #6 local. At 125th Street, the voice announced, "We are momentarily being held by the dispatcher." We waited; a Jerome express came and left; and we still waited. Could it be that the dispatcher needed to recognize that we (sitting at 125th) were Pelham-bound, not Parkchester-bound? At Third Avenue I waited 8 minutes for the following local (to get to Brook Avenue). I wonder whether it also had sat at 125th street in need of the kind of recognition the marker lights of the 1950's would have provided?
Many thanks to those who have provided explanation on this thread!
  by tommyboy6181
Patrick Boylan wrote:I think I remember seeing countdown clocks in Montreal, but the last time I was there was more than 10 years ago so I won't argue with anyone who says my memory's faulty. They have been in Washington DC for a bunch of years.
I wholeheartedly agree that they make the wait seem shorter.
The countdown clocks in Washington debuted in 2000. Only problem was they had a ton of problems during the first few years. But now that they were fixed and have been running well, it does seem to shorten the wait.
  by #5 - Dyre Ave
I'm glad we finally have countdown clocks. Even if they're only on the L and 1-6 lines. Long overdue.
  by GP38
I think the countdown clocks are great. I hope they expand them to the B Division.