Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledges subway upgrades, including cell service, charging stations

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City subway riders will soon have access to Wi-Fi and cell phone service as part of a plan to upgrade an aging transit system that serves 9 million people daily.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo detailed the improvements Friday, saying the five-year, $29 billion plan will restore New York's legacy of building big for future generations.

The plan includes subway station countdown clocks, improved signal technology and replacement subway cars. Thirty stations will be completely overhauled.

In addition, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to buy new transit buses, expand service and complete bridge and tunnel repairs.

While the plan doesn't go as far as transportation advocates had hoped, Cuomo says it's an investment that will improve quality of life and prepare the nation's largest city for the future.

The MTA is saying the entire system is technologically behind the rest of the world.

"We need to step into the 21st century and bring technology into the transit system," chairman Thomas Prendergast said.

Subway stations will be redesigned with technology in mind, and they will be cleaner and easier to navigate. The technology in the stations will also include charging stations, digital ads and information kiosks.

Digital ticketing will be introduced so commuters can buy tickets online, eliminating lost cards, and LIRR and Metro North is expected to implement mobile ticketing within six months. Beginning in 2018, subways and buses will start using contactless payment methods, including mobile apps, bank cards and prepaid debit cards. All MTA transit systems can then integrate payment methods into one central account for users.

A new generation of smartphone applications will display countdown clock data in real time.

Security cameras will be in place in 85 percent of new buses and retrofits to crack down on crime and inappropriate behavior.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.