The L train will get the city's first computer-controlled trains this summer. And as with any new technology not with the words "iPod" or "Mac" attached to it, there's a bit of controversy. It turns out the computerized trains ("Communication-Based Train Control") will only have one MTA employee manning them, not two as previously discussed. This employee will be in charge of monitoring the controls, opening and closing doors, and "tending to passengers' issues," which freaks people out. The transit union says that the MTA eliminated the conductors' jobs (the sole employee will be an engineer) to cover up the cost of the project (over $280 million), and City Council had a debate about it yesterday, as many think the "robo-trains" are unsafe and untested. The L train was chosen because it's just 10 miles long and doesn't share its tracks with any other lines. One L train rider told the Daily News, "The trains are already messed up. This will make it worse." Yeah, good luck with that.
Gothamist has an idea: In July, we should plan a trip on the computerized train - we'll do the Robot Dance! And check out the City Council's PDF on the matter: Man Or Machine? Transportation Committee Considers "Robo-Trains" On The Canarsi Line.