Later this week, the MTA will release its request for proposals for the construction of 1,025 new subway cars, up to 750 of which will have the open gangway design, as well as an RFP for the redesign and construction of the first three stations of 31 across the city slated for upgrades.
Open gangways are accordion-like passageways between cars, which create a nearly seamless space inside the train and yield as much as 10 percent additional capacity. The train design unveiled this morning also calls for 58-inch-wide doors, which the MTA said will speed boarding 32 percent compared to the current 50-inch design.
Previously, the MTA had said that it would only try out 10 open gangway cars in its next train purchase. A purchase of 750 cars is a vast improvement and should make a noticeable difference on crowded lines, though the MTA has yet to announce where the new cars will be deployed. It also bodes well for future purchases as the MTA refreshes its 6,400-car subway fleet.
While 31 percent of subway cars in London and 56 percent in Toronto have open gangways, no transit system in the United States has implemented the design, according to the governor's press release.
Speaking this morning at the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn, Cuomo said the new cars "are very exciting to me" and that he hears complaints about crowding "all the time."
He also noted the necessity of expanding transit capacity to handle the region's growth. "The volume just cannot be handled by the current road transportation system," he said. "The MTA is going to have to increase their capacity to manage that higher volume."
The MTA will also release an RFP this week for three station redesigns that will include above-ground service announcements, enhanced lighting, and new countdown clocks. The three stations are all in Brooklyn: Prospect Avenue, 53rd Street, and Bay Ridge Avenue. The same upgrades are slated for 28 additional stations in the MTA's five-year capital program.
Neither the governor nor MTA officials gave a timeline for putting the open gangway cars into operation, though the agency said in January that it expected its new batch of trains to start service in 2020.
Born and raised in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, David fell in love with journalism as a kid accompanying his reporter dad on stories while school was out. A reporter at Streetsblog from 2015 to 2019, David returned as Streetsblog Deputy Editor in 2023 after a three-year stint at the New York Post. A graduate of Montgomery Blair High School and the University of Maryland, he lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
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