New York MTA equipping conductors with iPhone 6s units to relay delay information

Those not from New York won’t know of the hellish commutes that have stacked up over the past decade on the underground. The subway has had recurring episodes of overcrowding on platforms. Trains become disabled for one reason or another and capacity doesn’t seem like it can keep up.

And while the state government, which controls the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is fighting with the city on a wider capital plan for the aging system, the most important thing for the authority on the base level is communicating delays to its passengers.

As part of a new initiative, 230 iPhone 6s units are coming onto the ‘E’ line. In a bulletin to employees relayed to The New York Daily News, 140 platform controllers and 90 train conductors will receive specially-marked devices and be able to see messages from the Rail Control Center on the system’s status and how the source of a delay is being processed.

Conductors can only read messages after the train has departed from the station and make phone calls to the control center as needed. Personal use and accessories like earpieces are not allowed.

An MTA spokesman tells The Verge that this is a pilot program, so it’s unclear if we’ll see it expand to the system’s 26 other subway services.

In 2009, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority established strict cellphone guidelines for operators after a trolley ran into the back of another trolley. Crash investigators placed the blame on the driver, who was texting his girlfriend while on the job. The crash ended up injuring 62 people.

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Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.