(New York, WNYC) New York's straphangers can now use an iPhone or iPad to find out when their train is arriving on seven subway lines.
The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority's new Subway Time app works like a countdown clock by using a train's location to predict its arrival at stations. That's more accurate than going by train schedules, which are routinely disrupted.
"Whether you're leaving your apartment or you're standing on the corner or you're just walking here through Grand Central Terminal, you'd be able to look at it on your iPad or on your iPhone and be able to see when the next train is coming," said Joe Lhota, the outgoing MTA chairman.
Subway Time covers the 156 stations of the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 lines, along with the 42nd Street Shuttle. A spokesman for the MTA says the app's coverage will be extended to the L train in the next six to 12 months, and that developers are working on a version for Android phones.
NYC Transit Authority president Tom Prendergast said riders using the rest of the subway system will have to wait for a similar service. He explained that the "lettered lines" use signaling technology that "remains little changed since a time before computers, microprocessors, wireless telephones or handheld electronic devices.” He said the system works to prevent collisions "but it cannot offer us a digital feed.”
The MTA has long-term plans to upgrade those lines. But that will depend on money from future capital budgets. It cost $228 million over 11 years to modernize the "numbered lines."
Subway Time is free, for now. But Lhota said the NY MTA would solicit paid advertisements once the app was out of its testing phase.