April 14, 2024
MTA debuts shiny, European-style trains with open gangways in NYC — but some straphangers aren't in love yet


A new European-style train hit the Big Apple subway system Thursday — but some straphangers were ready to shut the door on the experimental cars’ “open gangway” design.

Commuters were previously charmed by the bright lights and digital screens of the sleek C-Line cars, but the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is divided over the state-of-the-art accordion layout as it unveils the biggest overhaul to the transit system in a generation.

“It’s really smart to have it open like this,” straphanger Keisha Rodriguez said Thursday about the setup. The first five and last five trains are linked together like accordion buses.

Rodriguez was one of about half of the riders on the new trains who told The Post that the layout made them feel safe — they could see the entire train and quickly change cars if there was a problem.

But the other half said it made them feel more unsafe. The metal doors, he said, were like a barrier that kept homeless and mentally ill people away from the car they were riding in.

Now this will not happen.

The inaugural ride departed Thursday from the 168th Street Station in Washington Heights. Matthew McDermott Wide doors and open gangways make it very easy for people to move between cars. Matthew McDermott The interiors feature digital screens and glowing signs, among other things. Matthew McDermott

“Really one of my concerns is homelessness,” Justin Chevre, 19, told The Post. “When they’re in a car, it’s limited to that one car. Since this train is open, you can’t really do that.”

Most people praised the digital bells and whistles added to the cars, including brighter lights, updated screens and wider doors that make boarding easier for people with disabilities and strollers. The doors are wrapped in new light strips that glow red when closed.

The train put into service Thursday is one of two the MTA purchased in 2018 to test the “open gangway” concept in New York.

The pair were delivered in 2023 and tested for several months in underground letter lines before their official commissioning.

Officials included the experimental model in a larger $3 billion order for the trains that will eventually allow them to replace the orange and brown models of the 1970s — and which are among the most unreliable in the system.

Officials said it will become easier for disabled people or wanderers to move between trains. Matthew McDermott Riders were split 50/50 on the new design, with some concerned that it could allow problematic passengers to easily change cars. Matthew McDermott

The remaining trains in the sequence have more conventional closed doors at the end of each compartment.

In comparison, this new R211T model looked like a spaceship.

“I’m used to dirty subways,” regular C train rider Ian Myers told The Post.

New train? “This is much better,” he said.

Officials have pushed for the experiment for years, arguing that the design — which is commonly found in London and Paris — will give riders room to spread out, make it easier for disabled New Yorkers and people with strollers to find a seat and Passenger safety will improve. Improved sight lines and new security cameras.

Security cameras have also been installed on the roof of the new trains. Matthew McDermott

Enclosed gangways have other benefits, too, such as preventing people from exiting without conductors noticing – potentially making a dent in the subway surfing epidemic that has already taken the life of a teenager this year.

On Thursday, Governor Kathy Hochul called the trains “the future of mobility transportation.”

“The subway is coming back,” she told reporters as she stood in the accordion connecting two cars together, just before the inaugural ride departed from the 168th Street station in Washington Heights.

He added, “We want to make sure that the good feelings, the good times continue.” “And that’s what we’re doing by launching these new cars on the C train.”

Governor Hochul called the new cars “the future of mobility transportation.” Matthew McDermott

“The main thing is that the metro keeps the city dynamic. I can’t imagine this city without it, it wouldn’t be as vibrant,” she said. “It won’t be as fast-paced. It won’t be New York City. “The economy of our entire region depends on it.”

The agency has also added 800 new train and station cleaners to its payroll – meaning the gleaming cars will hopefully keep up.

But for now, passengers enjoyed the bus journey.

“I like that it’s open,” Lahana Deering told The Post. “It’s great. It feels like I’m on a train.”

Source: nypost.com

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