Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is the Metro Editor for WNYC News. She has previously served as Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
UPDATED --Just took the MTA's new weekender map, which is now live, for a test ride. Instead of a confusing array of notices, now, if you go on the website, you're treated to a cool graphic with flashing lights that immediately tells you what's up with YOUR subway.
NYC MTA Chief Jay Walder made no bones when he took over the nation's largest transit authority that the old weekend service announcements were completely confusing. You had to scan your way through reams of papers, find your line, check your blackberry to figure what what dates were coming, and stand there scratching your head. While your train passed you by because you were spending so much time figuring it all out. So one of Walder's relatively early acts was to overhaul the signage.
But it turns out the notices are still totally confusing. You still have to scan through reams of paper and to figure out which lines are out on the weekends. (Answer: many. Expect to be disrupted.)
Now, the MTA is tacitly acknowledging it can do better. Beginning this afternoon, its website, mta.info will display a pretty, interactive subway map with flashing feature alerts. Users, the MTA promises, will able to click on stops and lines for more information.
Information on service disruptions is particularly important for weekend users, who, because many are not commuting to work, are more likely to be choosing between transit and other options. Some percentage, if it's too confusing, will just give up and take a car or a cab.
The map (photo at top of post) is based on the old, 1970's Massimo Vignelli subway map -- which hangs in the Museum of Modern Art.
The new map is literally, a work of art.