ALBANY — Wi-Fi service for cellphones in all subway stations by the end of this year, security cameras on buses, and tickets that Long Island Rail Road riders can present on their cellphones are part of a major upgrade of the New York City transit system announced Friday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
Charging stations for cellphones and computers also are planned for 30 subway stations to improve comfort and safety, based on best practices in cities as far away as Tokyo.
“We want people getting out of cars and into mass transit . . . which is the future of New York,” Cuomo said at the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn. “We are not going to continue to grow downstate New York with people getting into cars and commuting. It’s numerically impossible. We aren’t going to build more roads . . . we shouldn’t build more roads.”
He announced plans to renovate 30 stations under an expedited construction plan to cut the usual hardship on riders by half. The plan would allow “mobile ticketing” by cellphones or bank cards that could be used in place of MetroCards on LIRR and Metro-North trains within six months and extend the service to subways and buses by 2018. “Countdown clocks” and other information on train schedules and delays also would be expanded, Cuomo said.
The renovations of most of the 30 stations would be completed by 2018 and all would be refurbished by 2020, with each station requiring six to 12 months of work. During that time, construction will be done on parts of the station at a time to reduce disruption to riders, said Thomas Prendergast, chairman of the state Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Many of the projects have been talked about before and some are in the MTA’s capital plan. After he rejected the MTA’s higher proposal for capital spending, Cuomo in October struck a deal with Mayor Bill de Blasio for a $26 billion, five-year capital plan. That plan includes a larger contribution from the city.
“These are vital investments to modernize subways and buses and make the daily commute less awful for 8 million New Yorkers,” said John Raskin of the Riders Alliance consumer group. He said riders are impatient to have the work begin after a year of delays while Cuomo and de Blasio squabbled.