New York City's transit systems are getting some nice tech upgrades.
The city's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) on Friday announced a host of new changes coming to trains, buses, and stations in New York City.
Here are the most important changes coming:
- All 277 underground subway stations will have WiFi service by the end of 2016. Currently about 140 subway stations already have WiFi.
- In two years, people will be able to pay for subway and bus fares using "a cellphone, a bank card, or another payment device over contactless readers" such as Apple Pay and Android Pay.
- The MTA will build more countdown clocks in more subway stations, and will deliver real-time arrival data for all 469 subway stations via its free SubwayTime app.
- Charging ports will be installed on more subway cars (200 in 2016, and another 400 in 2017) and buses.
- Most buses will have surveillance cameras installed, and some subway cars are also getting cameras later this year. The MTA's emergency assistance Help Points will also be installed in every subway station by the end of next year.
This is all good news. Most people will be happy about more WiFi stations and USB chargers to keep their devices juiced during their travels.
But the most important news is that New York's public transit systems will be getting a little bit safer, too.
More surveillance cameras and more Help Points are sorely needed. More than 5 million people ride the NYC subways every day, but new data from the New York Police Department shows that subway crime has risen 7.5% from over a year ago, with 3 out of every 4 subway crimes happening to "sleeping passengers, unattended property or bag picks." Crime also spiked city-wide last year, with a boost in both robberies and felony assaults.
So, it's great that NYC subways are getting a little safer and more high-tech. But if you're looking for the most high-tech subway system right now, you'll have to visit Seoul, South Korea, to understand what the MTA is trying to accomplish.