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June 18, 2014

NYCT adding 70 more 'Help Points' on subway

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) New York City Transit (NYCT) will seek board approval to install new Help Point Intercoms at 70 additional stations as part of an effort to enhance customer safety and security by enabling direct communication with station agents and the Rail Control Center.

The high-tech devices will serve as a welcome beacon to worried customers and lost tourists alike and is part of the MTA’s ongoing efforts to bring the subway system into the 21st century.

The MTA included funding for the additional Help Points in the 2010-2014 Capital Program, which ensures the installation of this high-priority systemwide initiative will proceed without interruption. An initial rollout at 102 stations is on target for completion by the end of this year.

In 2013, NYCT was able to add an additional 50 stations to the 2010-2014 Capital Program as part of other security-related projects and station renewals. Together with the additional 70 pending board approval, it would bring the total number of stations to receive Help Points to 222. To date, a total of 166 Help Points are in service in 36 stations.

Help Points will eventually replace the existing Customer Assistance Intercoms currently in use in stations. The initial stations to receive Help Points were identified based on ridership while ensuring that network coverage was evenly distributed.

"Help Points are making our subway system safer and easier to use, expanding access to assistance and travel information using the latest technology available," MTA NYCT President Carmen Bianco. "When coupled with Countdown Clocks and On the Go Screens, they add up to the most robust customer communications enhancements our customers have seen in decades."

The MTA considers Help Point installation as a high priority because of the safety and security benefits to customers. It expects to include the remaining 246 stations in the 2015-2019 Capital Program. The installation of the devices will be completed under multiple contractual packages.

The cost of Help Point installation varies depending on the number of intercoms to be installed per station, with an average of about six units planned for each station.

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