MTA Criticized for Countdown Clocks for Bus and Subway

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An influential Long Island lawmaker is criticizing the MTA's decision to install countdown clocks throughout the bus and subway system. At a hearing yesterday on the authority's capital plan, State Senator Craig Johnson said he had a tough enough time voting for a new payroll tax this spring to bail out the MTA.

"I just don't see how we can justify that right now. I have constituents that are screaming about the MTA payroll tax, screaming about it," Johnson says.

The new MTA chairman, Jay Walder, is making the clocks a top priority for buses, so that riders will know how long they have to wait. He says the clocks will make the system easier and friendlier to use.

"The difficulties created by the lack of information harm two and a half million people in the way that they are utilizing the system," Walder says.

The MTA has about $80 million set aside in its capital plans to bring countdown clocks to bus stops. The city and the MTA are running a pilot program for buses along 34th street.