MTA to test new underground assistance system

Help Point from MTA.

April 5, 2011 12:27:58 PM PDT
Two subway stations will test a new system that is designed to make it safer for commuters to travel underground.Several of the Help Point station communications systems will be installed along the 6 train line at the 23rd street and Brooklyn Bridge stops.

The system operates with the touch of button, allowing emergency assistance and travel information to be at your fingertips.

It is crucial for travelers to be able to reach help while on the platform, and the Help Point system does that by instantly alerting workers at the station booth and Rail Control Center.

The control panel features a speaker and microphone as well as a red emergency button and green information button, which determines where each request is sent.

"These Help Points will make our subway system safer and easier to use, expanding access to assistance throughout stations in a way that wasn't possible before," said MTA Chairman and CEO Jay H. Walder.

"This is just another step in our efforts to bring new technology to customers in ways that make using the transit system better every day," he added.

The Help Point stations will be equipped with a pulsing bright blue beacon light to make them easy to spot.

New technology will enable MTA personnel to trace which system in the station is in use, decreasing the amount of time that it will take for emergency crews to reach a sick or injured passenger in need.

"These units have a fresh new appearance that will make the Help Points easy to identify. The sound will be crisp, clear and easy to understand which is an important feature especially in the subway environment," said NYC Transit President Thomas F. Prendergast.

"As designed, the Help Points are a major step beyond the Customer Assistance Intercoms now in our stations," he added.

One goal of the test stations is to determine whether wireless or hard-wired systems are more effective.

If the Help Point systems in both locations are found to be highly beneficial to subway riders, the MTA will install them in all 468 subway stations.