Saw this in the NYPost this morning ... I find it really hard to
believe that between RFID, WiFi, WiMax, etc that no technology can
tell me simply when the next train is arriving. The question is what
the real problem is? Since Siemens has been in the rail business for
a long time ... makes me wonder if there will ever be wide area
signal coverage underground.
NO ETA: FIRM FLUBS $160M SUBWAY TECH
By JEREMY OLSHAN Transit Reporter
October 20, 2006 -- When is the next train coming? Don't ask the MTA.
The $160 million digital message boards that transit officials have
long promised will take the guesswork out of the platform waiting
game do not work, The Post has learned.
MTA leaders are furious at German technology powerhouse Siemens,
which has already been paid $45.2 million since getting the contract
Siemens has been unable to deliver on promises to fix its software,
forcing the MTA to consider looking for another company to finish the
There has not been "any tangible evidence that the fixes we have been
promised are in fact fixes and can work going forward," New York City
Transit spokesman Paul Fleuranges said. "We have begun the process to
explore whether we should pursue a different course of action with
Despite several delays, a separate system using a different
technology has been installed on the L train. That system does work
and will be up and running by "year's end," Fleuranges said.
Subway systems in cities such as Paris and London have been able to
provide passengers arrival information for years, note transit
advocates, who say the MTA has a lousy track record when it comes to
bringing in new technology.
"It's really disappointing. With the exception of the MetroCard, they
have a terrible history with anything that needs software," said
Beverly Dolinksy, director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Council
to the MTA.
In 2000, the MTA scrapped a contract with Orbital to provide a
satellite bus-location system, which failed to work around
Manhattan's skyscrapers. "That contract is 10 years old, and we still
don't have that system," Dolinsky said.
Since May, the MTA has stopped paying any invoices for work related
to the Siemens software, according to a report by the agency's
independent consulting firm, Carter Burgess.
"Payments to the contractor for software-related work are being held
pending resolution of which direction the software development will
proceed," the report said.
Though the contractor may have failed to deliver, Gene Russianoff, of
the Straphangers Campaign, contends the MTA has only itself to blame.
"The buck stops with transit officials, because they are the ones who
drew up the specs," he said. "They spend tens of millions of dollars
and promise their customers real-time information. Their own studies
and polls show riders crave knowing what is going on - even more so
in a 9/11 world."
Siemens contends it will resolve the problems.
"Siemens is confident that we have the solution," spokeswoman Paula
Davis said. The project will be completed to "the satisfaction of the
New York City Transit and New York City commuters."
In the meantime, riders can still employ the more low-tech method of
staring into the void for signs of that telltale light at the end of
NYCwireless - http://www.nycwireless.net/