SEPTA installing real-time countdown clocks on Market-Frankford Line, Broad Street Line platforms

Mike DeNardo
February 23, 2020 - 4:00 am
Suburban Station

Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — SEPTA is moving ahead with its plans to install countdown clocks on platforms to tell riders how long it will be before the next train or trolley arrives.

It's something every subway rider wants to know: How long until the next train? A project is underway to put real-time countdown screens in SEPTA subway and trolley stations.

"It's going to be a display where passengers are going to be able to stand at the platform and see the time tick away until their train arrives. So we're working through some of the technical challenges with that," said SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch.

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Real-time tracking is available for buses and regional rails on SEPTA's app and website through GPS technology. But that system doesn't work as well underground to track subways and trolleys.

Busch says the Broad Street Line, the Market-Frankford Line and the trolleys run on three different signal and communications systems. SEPTA has hired the rail transport company Alstom to consolidate that information so that it can be pushed out to screens on the platforms. 

Busch says those screens should be going up on the Broad Street Line by November or so.

"We do expect to start putting some equipment in place toward the end of this year," he added.

The information modernization project has been in the works for years, and it started while Jeff Knueppel was general manager.

Busch couldn't say precisely when, but he says the countdown clocks will be tested first on the Broad Street Line, with the El and trolleys next. He says the clocks should be running on all three lines by 2022.