UPPER EAST SIDE — Take the Second Avenue subway for a virtual spin.
The MTA unveiled a simulator installed inside the MTA Second Avenue Community Information Center at 1628 Second Ave. that lets visitors virtually drive the train down a tunnel using real controls.
Participants can navigate through the tunnel by watching a large TV screen and using the dashboard to control the train. The dashboard consists of a control stick, a horn button and two green buttons that open the train's right or left doors.
There's a competitive component to the simulation too. The point of the game is to drive as quickly as you can from 96th to the 72nd Street station without breaking any rules and while keeping passengers happy.
"For instance, the speed limit is 45 [mph], which is the same speed limit conductors have in real life," said John Reinhardt, the director of the MTA Second Avenue Community Information Center.
Passing a red light, speeding, overshooting the platform or enabling the wrong doors to open will make passengers angry, which is depicted by a mood barometer flashing red.
Stopping or accelerating abruptly will also affects passengers' mood and adds time to the overall score, while a positive mood will subtract time.
The best scores are displayed on the screen at the end of the ride. So far, the top score is 1 minute, 25 seconds and 260 milliseconds, and belongs to a teenager "who must be really good at video games," Reinhardt said.
The screen also displays driving indications and visitors can put on headphones so they can hear MTA announcements.
The three stations in the simulation, including 96th, 86th and 72nd streets, were created using renderings and materials being used in their construction in real life. The texture of the floors and walls were kept similar as possible to how they will look when completed, MTA officials said.
The Second Avenue subway project began in 2007 as a way to reduce overcrowding on the 4,5 and 6 lines along Lexington Avenue.
The line is being built in four phases, with the first one providing service from 96th Street to 63rd Street as an extension of the Q train.
Once the first phase of the project is completed, travel time will be reduced by up to 10 minutes for commuters on the far east side and those traveling from the east side to west down, according to the MTA.
This portion of the line is expected to be completed by December 2016 but independent consultants have recently cast doubts of its feasibility because they say construction is already behind schedule.
The remaining phases will extend the line from 125th Street in Harlem to Hanover Square in the Financial District.
The Second Avenue Community information Center is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.