Home Subway Cell Service The next 25 stations to enjoy cell service are…

The next 25 stations to enjoy cell service are…

by Benjamin Kabak

As New Yorkers adjust to life in this new era of underground cell service, Transit Wireless is moving ahead with plans to equip the entire system within the next four years. That would allow New Yorkers — or at least those with AT&T and T-Mobile – to enjoy underground signals before Phase 1 of the Second Ave. Subway opens. Both of these projects are just, uh, zooming by.

Anyway, with the announcement of the six-station pilot earlier this week, Transit Wireless and the MTA said that 30-50 more Manhattan stations would be equipped with cell service within the next 12 months. Among those will be Times Square, Columbus Circle and Herald Square. Now, we learn what some of the remaining ones are. Drumroll please….

96th Street (1, 2, 3)
96th Street (B, C)
86th Street (1)
86th Street (B, C)
79th Street (1)
81 Street (B, C)
72nd Street (1, 2, 3)
72nd Street (B, C)
66th Street (1)
59th Street/Columbus Circle (1, A, C, B, D)
Fifth Avenue and 59th Street (N, R, Q)
57th Street (N, R, Q)
7th Av (E, B, D)
57th Street (F)
50th Street (C, E)
50th Street (1)
49th Street (N, R, Q)
47th-50th Streets/Rockefeller Center (B, D, F, M)
42nd Street/Times Square (1, 2, 3; A, C, E; N, R, Q)
34th Street/Herald Square (B, D, F, M; N, R, Q)
28th Street (1)
28th Street (N, R)
23rd Street (1)
23rd Street (N, R)
18th Street (1)

Unsurprisingly, these list of 25 features stations all in Manhattan and all south of 96th Street. That’s where the system’s more crowded stations are and where the call volume is likely to be highest. If implementation is successful there, it should be far easier elsewhere. I’m still working on finding the remaining 25.

And so as cell phone service begins to inch its way across the subway, I have to wonder what will happen first: underground mobile service for all or the opening of Phase 1 of the Second Ave. Subway? Transit Wireless says they’ll win the race, but with the MTA and its adventures in technology, anything can happen.

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ScottC September 29, 2011 - 5:57 pm

Are they promoting this service in the stations that it has been installed in or are straphangers finding out accidentally when their phone rings while underground?

ferryboi September 29, 2011 - 5:58 pm

Is there a list of stations that the MTA will actually clean, maybe throw some water on the platforms to get rid of the piss smell? Cell phones and zeotropes? WTF is going on with the MTA? Do these idiots ever ride the damn subway?

I’ve been riding since the mid-’70s and the stations and tracks are as disgusting as I’ve ever seen them. The trains themselves are mercifully clean (more or less) but man the smell of piss and puke is overpowering in many stations. First things first MTA…

Benjamin Kabak September 29, 2011 - 6:01 pm

I’ve mentioned this before, but the MTA is doing a bad job of promoting this point: The authority is spending no money on installing the cell capabilities. Transit Wireless and the carriers are paying every dollar for installation and are even reimbursing the MTA for the one or two track safety workers needed when they have to access various infrastructure and storage closets. While I do think the stations are awfully dirty these days, saying they’re spending money here that should go to cleaning isn’t really valid because they’re not spending money here. In fact, they make money off of the revenue sharing that’s part of the agreement with Transit Wireless.

ferryboi September 29, 2011 - 6:14 pm

Totally true Ben, but it’s not all about money. I’m glad the MTA is not paying for this, but there’s still the filthy station issue that turns people off a lot more than the lack of cell service. This seems to be an issue in NYC in general and the subway in particular, namely that of not taking care of something until somebody bitches enough. Why are the extreme ends of platforms so damn dirty and pissy? Because they are “out of sight” from most riders? Why is garbage piled up for weeks at a time? If given the choice, I’m sure most riders would rather have a clean platform than cell service.

Maybe the MTA can use some of the money they are “making” on this deal to do something basic like hosing down a platform now and then? It’s not impossible. You can practically eat off PATH train platforms, while NYCT stations a few feet away are filthy.

Tsuyoshi September 29, 2011 - 10:18 pm

You know… if they raised fares more, it could attack the problem from both sides. Poor people litter more, but would take the train less if the fare went up. Or maybe just have a dirty surcharge: stations which have more litter to pick up (or more urine to mop up, or whatever) get higher fares. And the money from the higher fares could be used to pay for more cleaning.

Hosing down a platform doesn’t seem like a great idea to me… it would just rinse all of the garbage onto the tracks.

Miles Bader September 29, 2011 - 10:36 pm

Hmm, the NYC subway fare really isn’t all that cheap….

Alex C September 30, 2011 - 1:54 am

It is compared to fares around the country (and world).

John September 30, 2011 - 9:47 am

It isn’t all that expensive either. Especially considering what you get.

Al D September 30, 2011 - 10:04 am

How to clean and keep clean a NYC subway stations ranks up there with the great unsolved mysteries of the universe!

Josh September 7, 2012 - 5:21 pm

“Poor people litter more”? Do you have any evidence to back up that generalization?

Josh September 7, 2012 - 5:22 pm

“If given the choice, Iā€™m sure most riders would rather have a clean platform than cell service.”

Sure, but this isn’t a choice that’s being made by anyone, as pointed out above. Restating a false dichotomy doesn’t make it true.

Emilio September 29, 2011 - 6:51 pm

Seems to me like they’re using geographical proximity and not necessarily a criteria of stations with the most ridership. 72nd Street on the B,C is the 170th busiest station on the system. 81st Street right above that is 109th.

Given than, I’m willing to bet that the remaining 25 will probably not include the 10th and 14th busiest stations in the system, both in Queens (Flushing and Jackson Heights.)

Just based on the pattern above, most could be on the 1, N and F lines south of 42nd.

Dan September 29, 2011 - 9:58 pm

Yeah, I’m a little surprised Penn Station (IRT or IND or both) and Grand Central don’t get it early on. Doesn’t really matter though.

Tsuyoshi September 29, 2011 - 10:05 pm

Some of these stations actually already have something of a signal. My phone sometimes rings when I’m on the 1 between 59th and 96th, though I don’t answer, because the signal is too weak to actually have a conversation. I wonder if they are installing this first in stations that are close to the surface?

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