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MTA Pilot Program Lets Riders Use Phones to Track Buses

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

WNYC
Buses got running in Red Hook on Thursday. Buses got running in Red Hook on Thursday. (Douglas Q. Smith/WNYC)

Riders of the B63 bus from Cobble Hill to Bay Ridge through Park Slope and Sunset Park can now track their bus by mobile phone or computer.

Real-time information about buses along the route is available via Google Maps and a dedicated website. Riders can also text a code number for their stop and be texted back about when the next bus should arrive.

The service doesn't indicate how many minutes until the next bus like a subway countdown clock, but uses GPS to show how many stops away it is.

NYC Transit said that if the pilot program works, it could eventually be deployed to the rest of the city's 230 bus lines. The agency is also developing a way for merchants along bus routes to display real-time information on digital signs, as is done in Boston.

The pilot project is costing the MTA about half a million dollars — the MTA said that's far cheaper than the subway countdown clocks.

For information on how to use the service, go to transportation nation.org.

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