Guess what? The MTA is unhappy with Siemens, who promised them real-time information boards, because the company has failed to fix its software! The Post reports that the MTA already paid Siemens $45 million out of the $160 million contract, but the agency is now looking for another contractor to finish the job. This is very good to know - you don't actually have to finish a job in order to get paid by the MTA. And Siemens claims they can fix the software, but this is apparently on deaf MTA ears (Siemens must have majorly screwed up if the MTA isn't having any of this!).

The Straphangers' Gene Russianoff says, "The buck stops with transit officials, because they are the ones who drew up the specs. They spend tens of millions of dollars and promise their customers real-time information." On the upside, the real-time information boards at L stations were put up by a different contractors and are still on schedule (in a behind schedule kind of way) to be up and running in the next few months. But the Post reporter Jeremy Olshan puts it best:

In the meantime, riders can still employ the more low-tech method of staring into the void for signs of that telltale light at the end of the tunnel.

We do that - and try to listen as well. Just don't lean too far over the platform edge.

2006_10_k9dog.jpgIn other subway news:
- MTA officers are training bomb-sniffing dogs and taking them through a "National Odor Recognition Test" in the Bronx ("Fifteen empty paint cans are lined in a row, some planted with traces of explosives, others scent-free. Each dog must dip its snout in each can, inhale and, if it smells something dangerous, sit.) And it turns out the bomb-sniffing dogs like a good tummy scratch.

- And the MTA is adding surveillance cameras to 32 more stations, according to amNew York. The Transit Authority says, "This is not a 'Big Brother' thing, this is not about keeping tabs on our riders. It is about providing police and other investigative bodies information." Well, how about the MTA uses the cameras situated at entrances to see how some riders have difficulties using the High Entrance/Exit Turnstiles. We swear, we see at least one person every other day lose a fare because he/she turns the turnstile incorrectly.

Photograph of G Train by Tien Mao