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MTA workers getting iPhones as a way to help handle subway delays

The MTA is giving some employees smartphones to help better communication about delays and service changes.
MTA rolls out new E trains with fewer seats
Some E train conductors are getting smartphones to help the communication about delays. (Flickr/MTA)

When you get on a crowded subway car, you probably notice that most people are on their smartphones. Now, some MTA workers may be as well — but their screen time will help manage MTA communication and hopefully ease train delays, the agency says.

The MTA is distributing iPhones to transit workers as a way to provide better communication about delays, service changes and other transportation information, according to the agency.

In total, the MTA will give 230 iPhones to workers, according to the New York Daily News, with 90 for conductors on E trains and 140 for platform crowd control workers. The smartphones will receive text messages from the MTA’s Rail Control Center concerning delays.

The texts will explain to the conductors and platform workers what caused the delay, how long the delay is expected to last and what alternate service options exist, and those employees can in turn relay that information to commuters.

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"Providing clearer, more timely information for customers is an essential piece of the Subway Action Plan,” MTA spokesperson Jon Weinstein said in a statement. “We're focused on better customer service and through this pilot we'll be able to convey real-time information quickly to our staff who can better inform our passengers about service."

The phones are expected to be distributed by the end of the week, according to NY1.

This program is one of multiple efforts the MTA has undertaken as a way to stymie delays and the straphanger frustrations that follow them. Some E train cars have recently been refurbished to have less seats, in order to add straphanger capacity and hopefully leave less people waiting on the platform for the next train.

In September, the agency launched a new transparency system to monitor delays and keep the riders informed of when and why they happen, along with other MTA info like month-to-month analyses of service to exactly how many minutes riders have spent being delayed.
 

 
 
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