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It will become easier for foreigners to move around the New York subway: the city has released a new, very convenient program


Alina Prikhodko

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As part of an initiative to improve subway accessibility in New York, new QR codes will appear there. They will make navigating the subway easier for people with visual impairments and those who don't speak English, according to timeout.

Every day on the New York subway there is a struggle with angry rush-hour passengers or a tense attempt to hear the conductors' muffled announcements. All this looks like a fight for your life. One can imagine how unsuitable transport in our city is for people with impaired vision or who do not speak English.

Luckily, there's an initiative that could make life easier for many people: The city intends to install colorful QR codes at stations throughout the transit system to make subways and buses more accessible to many people who have trouble navigating them.

The system was first tested at the Jay St-MetroTech station in Brooklyn and on Manhattan's M23 SBS bus route, but is already being rolled out to other stations.

How it works

To use QR codes, download the free NaviLens app, which will read the signs out loud for you in one of 34 languages. The bold colors of QR codes make them easier for people with low vision to recognize. In addition to reading signs, NaviLens also helps visually impaired passengers by providing train arrival information.

The second app, called NaviLens Go, provides sighted users with visual station navigation, trip planning information, train arrivals and service status in 34 languages.

On the subject: The era of the MetroCard is coming to an end: in 2024, OMNY will completely replace the old metro payment system

Both apps can be downloaded on Android or iOS devices. They use audio or text to help passengers identify key information, including real-time arrival details, exact location and distance to the nearest stop, crowding levels and boarding locations.

Last year, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced that the MTA would receive $2 million to expand the program to additional subway and bus stops, according to a press release, and we're finally starting to see the fruits of that investment. You'll likely start seeing more of these QR codes in the coming months.

“These much-needed affordability improvements will boost local economies, create opportunities for good-paying jobs, and expand access to critical services,” Senator Schumer said in a statement.

Sometimes it feels like the aging transportation system is falling apart, but programs like these offer hope. At the very least, the subway should be inclusive and accessible to everyone so we can all love it and hate it equally.

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