For what seems like the last decade or so, L train riders — and not just the Williamsburg hipsters whose inconveniences we've all mutually agreed to Schadenfreudically enjoy, but also normal people just trying to get back and forth between the West and East Villages — have been plagued by near-constant weekend and nighttime service interruptions. Must change to a different train at Third Avenue! No service between Lorimer and Eighth! The whole line is closed! It has been a colossal pain in the ass, but, deep down, we knew it was for a good cause: The TA was installing fancy new signaling equipment, systems using computers and radio transmitters and other newfangled technologies invented in the century since the subway's electromechanical signaling system was developed.
Now, months behind schedule and, we've got to assume, millions over budget, the computer signaled L service is finally going into service. No more old-fashioned tripped relays, lighted signals, and drivers following the signals, right? After all this time and money, the L train will finally move into the future — or at least into the 1970s Disney World monorail era — with trains driven by computers that know where and when to stop, and how far away to stay from the train in front of them, right?
Actually, wrong. NY1 reports that the first computer-signaled trains, which began running this morning:
[F]or now the computer only instructs the train operator on how fast to operate, and when and where to stop.
Because, of course, without all that inconvenience and something like $300 million, train drivers would never, ever have been able to figure out where to stop the trains.