Next train in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ... minutes

New sign at South Station. Photo by MBTA.New sign at South Station. Photo by MBTA.

The MBTA today turned on what could be the first of a whole system of signboards to let riders know when the next train is coming. Over the next few months, stations on the Red, Orange and Blue lines could get the signs. But not the Green Line, of course.

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Yay?

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Welcome to 1994, MBTA!

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Voting is closed. 11

At Least!

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I heard this on the news and I thought, "Didn't they have a system like this in place in London back when I was there in the early 80's?" I remember it being so, but my memory is not the most reliable thing.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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Voting is closed. 7

Golf Clap

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I'm not usually one to pile on, but I second Kaz's notion.

Since it's 1994, can we make our theme song "We Should Talk [MBTA remix]" since I hear this is a track on the new Bosstones album Question the Answers?

Back in reality, this deserves a golf clap, at least until the Green Line gets this system and I can look at the board at Park St. and know, for certain (for it I think it is almost always the case), that I should Hubway or walk.

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Voting is closed. 5

Seriously? The MBTA is

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Seriously? The MBTA is nose-deep in debt and you're going to complain about a system improvement because other places had it first?

Paris has had this system for a while and I remember thinking it was the most awesome idea, and wishing we had it here in Boston. Now we do, and I can be happy about it. I'm not sure what you were expecting, but this is something good, no matter how long it took to get it.

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Voting is closed. 4

End-of-the-line stations

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I wonder how accurate these signs will be at termini and at stations near the end of the line. The current data stream, used by apps such as Catch The T, only show a train once it's left the terminus. So if you're at Davis, you only find out about the approaching train around a minute in advance. And it doesn't work at all at the termini.

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Voting is closed. 0

I'm glad they'll provide

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I'm glad they'll provide useful information at terminals. The current "next train to Alewife is now arriving" announcements are particularly useless at Alewife, since the train could sit there anywhere between 1 and 10 minutes before leaving again.

I recently asked the T if they'll ever put back the signs at Alewife that light up to show which train leaves next. They removed them several years ago.

They said it would be part of this countdown clock project. When I asked for the details, it turned out they actually meant it was a theoretical future improvement to the countdown clocks.

So we're still stuck guessing which train will suddenly close its doors and depart without any announcement.

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The best bet at Alewife when

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The best bet at Alewife when there's two trains in the station is to look for which one has more people in it. That's the one that leave soonest.

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I know. But that doesn't

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I know. But that doesn't always work (both trains empty in the area near the staircase I used, or the trains leave out of order, or earlier people got on the wrong train). And it doesn't help inexperienced riders.

The "START" light at the inbound end of the platform tells you for sure. When the time-to-leave bell rings, it lights up on the side that is about to depart. But it's hard to see from down the platform, and they often close the doors very soon after it lights up.

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Voting is closed. 8

ARR!

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I like that Alewife is where the pirates get on.

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Voting is closed. 4

Now if they...

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...used the laws of averages to predict the next accident, derailment, signal problems or homeless guy piling on your train, then they would really be onto something.

"Train with texting conductor arriving in 2 minutes"

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Voting is closed. 4

fantastic!

Well, it will be fantastic as long as those number can reach into the triple digits, this is the MBTA after all.

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Voting is closed. 5

Down or up

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Since it doesn't have seconds, I just imagine standing on that platform and staring at that image, wondering if the next number will be a 5 or a 7.

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Voting is closed. 5

!!!

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*gasp*

*faint*

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Voting is closed. 5

But!

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How will I know when to see something say something?

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They'll remind you. Incessantly.

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Over the intercom. And if that doesn't work they'll put on some security theater at a stop near you.

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Sweet!

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Less time fiddling with the iPhone app.

More time playing Angry Birds.

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Voting is closed. 5

It's relativiT

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Normal laws of physics don't apply down there. Time dilates while you're standing still.

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Voting is closed. 7