How Long 'Til the Next Train? Pilot Project Lets Some A and C Riders Know

New York City Transit says it may have found a faster and cheaper way to let you know how long it'll take for the next train to arrive. It quietly started a pilot project last week in six upper Manhattan stations on the A and C lines. It's based on a system that's already in place.

You may have heard at some stations the announcement, "There is a train on the express track one station away." This pilot takes the technology that allows those announcements and automates them. Six stations will have the automated announcements, with four of the stations providing a countdown clock.

Countdown clocks are already operating on the L line and officials expect all the numbered lines will have them by the middle of next year. But they don't have a schedule for clocks on the lettered lines because it would require overhauling the train supervision system.

If the pilot in Upper Manhattan stations is successful, it would allow countdown clocks to be installed on the lettered lines using existing--though slightly less accurate--technology.