RYE BROOK, N.Y. - Metro-North stations throughout Westchester County may soon see upgraded stations, new cars, enhanced communications and other improvements as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority transition from a “9 to 5 to 24/7/365” model geared toward millennials.
On Friday, during the last Business Council of Westchester Political Series of the suummer, MTA CEO Thomas Prendergast outlined a series of initiatives that are to be implemented as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $30 billion capital plan that was approved in May.
Of the $30 billion in funds, Metro-North will receive nearly $2.5 billion by 2019. Prendergast said that money is earmarked to install Positive Train Control signal system, reimagining train station design and new, cleaner, more secure trains.
“Our roots trace back to the 19th century, and we’re trying to incorporate technology into a system that wasn’t designed for it, so it’s going to take some time,” he said. “We’re experience the fastest growth in the Metro-North region and we’re seeing a paradigm shift, where people want to live in denser areas, not the suburbs.”
Prendergast stressed that technology was going to be a key component of the capital plan. He said the MTA envisions visual information displays with real-time information on platforms, and e-tickets have been introduced on the Hudson line, will be on the Harlem line next week and in New Haven by next month. There are also plans for wi-fi on subway trains.
“We’re reimagining our station designs and we need to improve that environment,” he noted. “We have people on our platforms getting information from social media, not us about their rides. We need to get real-time information to our riders.”
During his presentation - which was followed by a brief question-and-answer session - Prendergast discussed a possible train from Metro-North to Penn Station that will be completed by 2022 and additional access to the West Side directly.
“Metro-North was once the best in class,” he said. “That’s so difficult to achieve, it’s easy to lose and nearly impossible to get back, and that’s what we’re doing now.”
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