Lonely Planet Writer

New plans for New York subway will bring it into the 21st century

Wi-Fi on the subway, bigger cars and more frequent services… No it’s not a New York commuters dream, but part of the governor’s plan to bring the city’s public transport system catapulting into the 21st century.

A rendering of how the Metro will look in the future.
A rendering of how the Metro will look in the future. Image by MTA Rendering

Governor Andrew Cuomo this week revealed the city’s plans to carry out significant improvements and upgrades to the New York subway system in the metropolitan region, answering the prayers of millions of tourists and commuters who rely on it on a daily basis.

The hum of the city’s subway trains- which weave around Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx through a network of tunnels and elevated bridges- are synonymous with the New York experience.  However, the stations are generally busy, crowded and sweltering.

As part of the new five-year plan, $27 billion will be injected into the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Capital Program.  And these investments will include the introduction of 1025 new subway cars which is geared towards reducing ‘wait time and increasing capacity’.

The ‘new and reimagined subway cars’ will include 750 open-ended cars, which will replace the traditional doors between cars with an ‘accordion’ like system.  It is hoped that this will allow for ‘greater passenger flow and increasing capacity in the process’.

Carriage doors will be increased in size from 50 to 58 inches; while Wi-Fi, USB charging points and coloured digital information signs will all become standard features.

A rendering of how the Metro will look in the future.
A rendering of how the Metro will look in the future. Image by MTA Rendering

The exterior ends of the trains will be blue, while the sides will be silver with a blue stripe and gold accents. Stations will also receive a makeover and 31 will be completely renovated. Digital information signs, real-time information, wifi and improved cellular range are just some of the highlights of the wide range of station improvements which can be expected through the work program.

Request for Proposals (RFP) for the work will be issued for three of the 31 stations in the coming weeks, while the remaining 28 will be issued throughout the next 12 months. RFPs for the construction of the new and improved subway cars will also be issued later this week.

Speaking at the announcement earlier this week, Governor Cuomo said:  ‘New York deserves a world-class transportation network, worthy of its role as the heartbeat of the 21st-century economy.’

‘We are going to do more than renovate – we are bringing subway stations to a higher standard than ever before, and the new vision for subway cars will increase capacity and reduce overcrowding and delays.’