In their continuing effort to make commuters less angry about frequent disruptions to their service, the MTA is following up last weekend's new "Weekender" web interface by rolling out giant iPads for straphangers to play with while they wait for their trains. Sort of.
Earlier today Tom Prendergast, New York City Transit President, and Cisco Senior Vice President, Carlos Dominguez, unveiled the new touch-screen gizmo, dubbed an On the Go Travel Station, at Manhattan’s Bowling Green Station. The shiny new doodad features a 47” screen that lets straphangers—patiently and one at a time—retrieve information about their trip, get directions from the MTA's Trip Planner+ app, view real-time service statuses, escalator & elevator statuses and browse local neighborhood maps.
The high-definition screen is split in two with one half dedicated solely to advertising (which the MTA hopes will cover installation expenses and generate additional money). The screen also allows for riders to locate shopping and dining options from third-parties (i.e. Zagat), as well as major attractions. A ticker tape running across the bottom of the screen displays NY1 headlines while the top displays current time and weather. Think of it as like one of those TVs in the back of taxis...except you don't have to turn it off each time you ride the rails, it is more user friendly and the interface will be consistant from station to station.
For its debut, the MTA chose to put the first On The Go Travel Station in the Bowling Green station but expect to see them in major hubs all over. First up? In the coming weeks the MTA has plans to install the kiosks in a total of five subway stations, so lucky riders (and, more realistically, tourists) passing through Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal, Atlantic Avenue, and Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue—you've got a new toy to play with.