Cell Phones Come To NYC Subways

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The MTA has rolled out cell phone service on six subway stations in Manhattan (see the list here). Pete Donohue of the Daily News discusses the program and what it means for your commute.

Plus: The First Ever Brian Lehrer Show Subway Cell-Service Crowdsource! We're asking you to be on one of the six platforms at 11am to take part in a little experiment. Text PLATFORM to 30644 now, be on a platform by 11, and we'll text you further instructions at 11:01!


Pete Donohue

Comments [28]

Margaret from UWS

Time is money, OK; but did you ever think you'd see the day
when catering to non-stop chat
would take it as far as all that?

Can you imagine trying to speak
between the subway's roar and screech?
What does this rat-race-y round of techno progress
really, about the humans, teach?

OK, if the station's emergency call is farther than you know -
it'd be good for when it matters to life,
to not be quite so slow.

I'd rather pay the musicians mind,
than be that desperate to save some time.

At least - hopefully - criminals will demur,
because being caught is that much more sure...

Sep. 29 2011 06:34 PM
ileen from manhattan

Please promise that WNYC will not put any calls on the air from subway platforms. There was way too much background noise - much worse than the poor reception calls you usually end in a hurry.

Sep. 28 2011 02:28 PM
Edward from Washington Heigts AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Do Echo Cancelling headphone work effectively on subways?

I believe that they work to minimize the sound of a jet engine, but do they work against subway clatter?

Sep. 28 2011 12:07 PM
David Parker from Brooklyn

I'm very worried that someone will leave bomb on a subway train and then detonate it from the platform after the train has left the subway. In this way, the person leaving the bomb does not have to commit suicide which leaves us more prone to this happening. Your guest's saying he was sure the MTA and the police have thought this out is nonsensical. Sure, they can shut off the system AFTER a bomb has gone off. BIG DEAL. This is a really stupid idea and it's all so the city can bring in more money. They're putting money ahead of security. THIS IS REALLY DUMB and the news media will be asking why this was allowed to happen only after the next tragedy happens. We need to ask the MTA to stop this idiocy before something terrible happens.

Sep. 28 2011 11:29 AM

This would be all fine if everyone would stop being so selfish with their personal electronic devices. I do not want to hear your idiotic conversations especially on the nextel walkie talkies that beep and blare. Can we at least get a quiet zone? Maybe it's time to get back to nature. By the way Taiwan and Korea have had this technology for 10 years.

Sep. 28 2011 11:24 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

THIS is why I will have my headphones on and I listen to music everytime I ride the subway.

Sep. 28 2011 11:24 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Awful segment, not the subject (it would have been nice if the wisdom of the MTA proceeding along these lines would have been questioned), but the entire approach to it.

Ultimately self-involved, boring, and annoying.

Sep. 28 2011 11:23 AM
Clif from Brooklyn

I agree with some of the other people who said feel like this will be more of an annoyance than anything else. So much of phone traffic is people blabbing about nothing at all. Why can't we put that money & energy into fixing NYC schools first? Maybe then people will be a little smarter and will be able to understand the difference between frivolous phone use and necessary phone use.

Sep. 28 2011 11:22 AM
Jay from New York

He just started to talk about the security issue -- of bomb detonated by cell phone issue -- and you INTERRUPTED HIM to talk to an intern on the platform about NOTHING!
THIS IS A REAL ISSUE - the only thing I wanted to know!

Sep. 28 2011 11:21 AM
Krys from NYC

I think you're missing the point. Phone conversations are going extinct. The benefit of this is the ability to use data. Email or browsing or even streaming wnyc.

Sep. 28 2011 11:18 AM
Cesar from Manhattan

May this cell signal accessibility bring pressure on the MTA to make trains QUIETER in stations!

Sep. 28 2011 11:18 AM
pete from ny

yeah, no one is responding on the subway cuz only a handful of people listen to wnyc contrary to what they want you to believe.

Sep. 28 2011 11:18 AM
Cesar from Manhattan

May this cell signal accessibility bring pressure on the MTA to make trains QUIETER in stations!

Sep. 28 2011 11:17 AM
Nick from UWS

I agree with Pete below. This also now makes it possible for terrorists to detonate bombs in the subway by cell phone.

More idiocy.

Sep. 28 2011 11:17 AM

No wonder I usually don't listen to this program.

Sep. 28 2011 11:16 AM
pete from uws

Isn't this a security risk? The Madrid train bombs were ignited via cell phones, and it seems to me the casualties would be even worse in a large subway system like ours. I know this is an extreme scenario, but has the MTA thought about this at all?

Sep. 28 2011 11:16 AM
Nick from UWS

What about the rest of us who would like 5 minutes of relief from idiots yakking about nothing, who will not even be able to escape from it in the subway? Why does everything have to be made MORE hellish, not less?

I grieve for how moronic modern society is.

Sep. 28 2011 11:16 AM

the ability to use cell phones in the subway is really about data, not making phone conversations.

Sep. 28 2011 11:15 AM
Alan from 150 Varick Street

Great, more annoying chatter to deal with. Thanks for nothing cell phone providers!

Sep. 28 2011 11:14 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Just what we didn't need... more loud and obnoxious cell phone conversations.

And the rest of us are a captive audience.

As if the subway isn't sometimes an unpleasant and hostile environment already (even though it much improved from the '70's.)

And juxtapose this development with the very recent announcement of increased thievery in the subways -- particularly of electronic devices!

And the previous comment from RL is dead on: people completely oblivious to others as they walk along, or don't move out of the way for others, with their faces in their iPhones/Blackberries and the like.

Your Crowdsource of this segment implicitly endorses this awful development Brian.

Sep. 28 2011 11:13 AM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

BTW, this is a complete waste of airtime. Silly segment, listening to callers yelling as the train roars in. Dumb.

Sep. 28 2011 11:13 AM
The Truth from Becky

Much needed! Never know when you are going to need to call a cop in the NYC!

Sep. 28 2011 11:12 AM
steve J. Sherman from Manhattan

It's not the potential for annoyance that concerns me -- it's the danger. I'm concerned about people who continue walking on the platform while engaged in texting, reading or even speaking... I don't want someone bumping into me and pushing me (or my kids) onto the tracks, just because they were lost in their cyber world...

Sep. 28 2011 11:12 AM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

So will the MTA reserve "quiet" (as quiet as it can get on a NYC subway platform) like Metro North has done for some of their commuter cars.

What did we ever do before cellphones? Honestly, most folks don't have anything that interesting to say to each other that can't wait until they reach their destination.

"Whattcha ya doing?"
"Me either. Just waiting for the train..."

Sep. 28 2011 11:10 AM
Jason from Brooklyn

I've already witnessed one negative repercussion of this; a pair of NYC's finest with their faces buried in their Blackberrys at the 6th Ave station last night, rather than stopping terrorists or whatever else they're supposed to be doing.

Sep. 28 2011 10:38 AM

I think this is a bad idea from a security point of view. I think this was delayed due to security reasons but business interests won out. I know that cell phones can detonate explosives. We saw the consequences of this.
Also, I know in Paris in other places we can make calls on moving trains, and although useful it is tedious to hear people yell and be very uncivil on the phone. It is a big intrusion on the few moments of quiet. I am hoping MTA will kill this but that's not likely since people have become lemmings.

Sep. 28 2011 10:15 AM

Brian, why are you encouraging more self-centered, inconsiderate behavior from cell phone people like this? It's not like they aren't inconveniencing the rest of us above ground already. Why is it that we always have to get out of their way when they are the ones not looking at what they're doing or going? Can you at least ask them to pay attention to more than just your call? please, you're just validating their bad social behavior.

Sep. 28 2011 10:12 AM
Camille from Brooklyn, NY

This is not the first day of service.. I was at the 14th Street station on the Brooklyn-bound 2 train platform on Friday last week and I had a lengthy cellphone conversation with my friend. I was confused the whole time as to why I had service, so I am glad to know that it wasn't just a weird fluke. That said, I am annoyed that the subway station will no longer be a safe haven away from cellphone waves. Give us a break!

Sep. 28 2011 10:11 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.