Millennials’ Transit Needs

What do customers born after 1980 (the “millennial generation”) need from public transit?  To find out, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been studying this new generation of riders, according to reporting by Matt Flegenheimer in The New York Times (July 23).  For one thing, they take efficient transit for granted: they have no experience of the bad old days 40 years ago when New York transit was graffiti-ridden, dirty, dangerous, and breakdown-prone.  Today, they expect things to work, and demand technology, such as next-train-clocks at every station, Wi-Fi access and, yes, 24-hour service, which is bad news for the MTA’s programs of shutting down subway lines at night for maintenance projects.  MTA is responding to the perceived needs, planning to have “real-time-information-displays” (i.e., countdown clocks) in all subway stations by 2020, and has already wired some subway stations for Wi-Fi; smartphone apps can already provide next-train information—if the phone can get service, of course.