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Muni’s new electronic subway signs come to life — temporarily

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New signs hang above the inbound Muni platform at Powel Street Station Thursday, November 16, 2017. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)
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Muni riders expressed surprise last week when the long-dormant electronic train arrival signs in The City’s metro stations finally sprung to life.

Riders are used to seeing the electronic displays turned off, puzzlingly left blank. They were installed, but not turned on, by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

The signs, which show the time riders must wait until the next three trains arrive, were planned in 2012, approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors in 2013 and slated for installation in 2014. Blocka Construction, Inc. was awarded a $24 million Information Systems contract as part of a larger information systems contract.

But while the signs were installed, they were never permanently turned on — until last week, when they finally began displaying train arrival times.

“OMG they actually do something!” noted one Reddit user, Snobum, last week.

The Redditor also posted a photo of the signs at Civic Center station. Other posts materialized on social media throughout The City, and riders expressed excitement to see the signs finally spark.

Well, sorry to burst your bubble, Snobum, and others, but the signage isn’t permanently on — yet.

“The activated signs people may have seen [Monday] are undergoing testing,” said SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose. “They have not yet been permanently activated.”

Rose said the agency is “still working out a final rollout plan,” but is “targeting…next year to have all stations complete.”

That target is five years after the board approved first approved the signs.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify the contract that Blocka was awarded, as well as when the signs will be complete in the stations.

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