|Photo by Jose Martinez/THE CITY|
Countdown clocks have sprouted at more than 500 MTA bus stops citywide over the last five years, offering one way for commuters to learn how long they’ll have to wait.
But at many stops, time stands still.
THE CITY spot-checked 40 countdown clocks across the five boroughs — and found that one of every five of the high-tech signs didn’t work.
The eight clunky clocks included sites where malfunctioning modems cut off access to real-time bus information — like at West 57th Street and 7th Avenue in Manhattan — or where power problems have caused extended outages.
“I’ve never seen this thing work,” Bavly Hanna, 21, said of the clock at the Lexington Avenue and East 89th Street stop for the M101, M102 and 103 buses. “I don’t even bother looking at the clock because I know it’s not going to work.”
That’s because the East 89th Street sign has been out of service since July 2, 2018, according to the city’s Department of Transportation, which maintains the countdown clocks through its own crews and contractors.
A few blocks north on Lexington, at East 94th Street, the countdown clock has been on the blink since May 8. THE CITY also found malfunctioning timers along Second Avenue and on West 57th Street in Manhattan, at Vernon Boulevard and 50th Avenue in Queens and at Jerome Avenue and Bedford Park Boulevard in The Bronx.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” said Ray Colon, 74, of The Bronx. “Why put any money into something that doesn’t work?”
Countdown clocks have cost the city millions of dollars since they began appearing at some bus stops in 2014. Last year, five City Council members spent more than $1 million in capital funding to install more.