Since the R142s debuted on the 2 and 5 lines in 2000, one of the quirks of the strip map system has been its inflexibility. The maps in the cars were assigned a certain line, and if a set of cars with a 2 line map runs as a 5 train instead, the map simply says “not in service.” Unlike the FIND displays in the newer cars that can be changed based on train route, these maps were a relic of an inflexible system.
A few months ago, a new map showed up in one 10-car set which had both the 2 and 5 lines on the same map and could be personalized for whichever line the train is running on. In other words, if the train in question is running on the 2, the map will show the 2, and if the train is running on the 5, the map will show 5 line stops. No more “not in service” signs.
Now, as Transit announced on Friday, the agency will outfit all R142s that run on the 2 and 5 with these new maps. The agency says “the map redesign is consistent with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s initiative to improve the customer experience with modern amenities.” Transit President Ronnie Hakim explained further, ““We are taking this opportunity to replace strip maps that are more than a decade old and going a step further to improve customer communication by creating this new strip map that shows both the 2 and 5 routes from end to end. The combined strip map lets us reassign trains more fluidly and shows our customers where they’re going, regardless of the train they’ve boarded. The redesign will alleviate customer confusion when trains are reassigned or rerouted from one line to another.”
Unfortunately, this new map, while more useful, is a bit of a mess from an ease-of-use perspective and isn’t as flexible as the FIND system. But it’s a step up from the old system. I’m rather skeptical though that passengers are itching at the bit for a strip map slightly easier to use rather than more frequent service or an expanded system. Cuomo may be able to take credit for this upgrade, but it’s a hollow victory for him.
After the jump, this weekend’s service advisories. Due to the Presidents’ Day holiday on Monday, some of these changes run into Tuesday morning. Enjoy the long weekend. I’ll be back on Monday night.