MTA installing more digital info screens

MTA's On The Go Travel Stations at the Herald Square 1,2 and 3 train station.
MTA’s On The Go Travel Stations at the Herald Square 1,2 and 3 train station. Photo Credit: Ambrose Hall

More than a dozen digital information kiosks in subway stations along the R and G lines are going to be installed by the end of the year, amNewYork has learned.

The On the Go kiosks that have been cropping up in major stations will increase to 153 from the 145 that have already been installed, according to transit officials. The MTA pilot tested digital information kiosks in 2011.

Two companies, Outfront Media and Manhattan-based Control Group, each designed their own kiosks and have been vying for the eyes and fingers of the city’s riding public. These 47-inch tall information screens provide trip planning, service status, nearby destinations, service advisories and train arrival information, as well as advertisements.

Control Group’s P. Damian Gutierrez said about 80 out of the planned 90 kiosks that have been installed are tailored to the everyday New Yorker, though it will start developing features more suited to the unfamiliar out of towner.

For now, Control Group’s focus has been to take the “touch” out of the touch screen with information displayed based on location, passenger flow and time of day.

“If we have kiosks in the mezzanine, we understand people are in a rush transferring from one line to another. They need to know line status,” Gutierrez said. “On the platform, where we know we have higher dwell times, that’s where we can get into more specific information.”

He also explained that a rider can plot the route with minimal screen contact by scrolling on a map and poking their destination.

That is in contrast to the kiosks from Outfront, formerly known as CBS Outdoor, which require riders to type in their destination.

But Outfront’s Rich Ament, senior vice president, touted how its device displays information and takes cues from the popular next-train arrival clocks. The arrival and status details are focused on the top of the screen and flip over to show information on other lines.

“There’s just too much information, almost, in my view,” Ament said of “our friends at Control Group.” “The public will make the decision ultimately which one works best.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled P. Damian Gutierrez’s name and misstated the number of On the Go kiosks Control Group has installed.