MTA looks to automate 7 train

July 10, 2009 4:01:46 PM PDT
It's one of the busiest subway lines in New York. The 7 line, running from Flushing in Queens to Times Square in Manhattan, and it's about to be computerized.

The cost is hundreds of millions of dollars, at a time when the MTA says it has no money.

It is a way to streamline the trains, according to New York City Transit officials who tell Eyewitness News the number 7 line is slated for automation.

The MTA is now taking bids on the project for the estimated cost of $348 million dollars, but with fares recently going up and a recession some riders have to wonder is it worth it?

"In these fiscally tough times, I really don't think so. I think we could find better use for these fundings somewhere else in the city," said Laura Hawkins.

Other riders like the idea of some new perks including more frequently running trains and automated signs, informing riders of just how long they have to wait for the next train.

"I like that very much. You see that in London all the time and it's a wonderful feature," said Robert Linn.

The L train already has a similar system, which allows trains to run closer together, because their speed and brakes are being controlled by computers.

But just how safe is it? In Washington, D.C., questions are being raised about a computerized emergency system that failed to prevent a recent accident, which killed 9 people. Transit officials insist the New York system is completely different.

They say it involves newer technology and as for the cost, a spokesman says "It's no more money than if we would have to replace the conventional signal system on the number 7 line, which is about 100 years old."

Transit officials hoping to have a contractor by the end of the year.


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