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A Whole New York City Borough Gets Real-time Bus Information

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 05:00 AM

Yep, Staten Island, your bus will come. And now, you can know when. The MTA is today launching real-time bus information for the entire borough. Users can find out where their bus is -- actually, not theoretically.

Which means you can linger in a shop, or not bother to leave your house on a cold morning, until you know the bus is truly about to arrive at your stop.

Though the MTA has been running a pilot on the B63 from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn to downtown, this will be the first system rolled out on a borough-wide basis.

Knowing this information, the American Public Transportation Association says, can be a key factor in convincing travelers to use public transportation rather than personal vehicles.

There are a few ways to get the info. You can go to the MTA's website, mta.info/bustime, and click on a map which shows you where all the buses are. (The MTA says the Staten Island service will go live around noon on Wednesday.) Or you can text from your phone (smart, or not) and ask the system to find you.

That's an improvement from what users on the B63 pilot have faced. B63 riders have had to text a unique code, and will get information on how many stops (or miles) away the bus is. That means users have had to memorize codes, or got through a cumbersome system of looking up the codes online.

The information is based on GPS, and in Brooklyn, at least, has proved to be uncannily accurate.

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Comments [3]

Andrea Bernstein

Will -- that only works if you have a smart phone, with good connection to the internet.

Jan. 12 2012 02:11 PM
Will

"That’s an improvement from what users on the B63 pilot have faced. B63 riders have had to text a unique code, and will get information on how many stops (or miles) away the bus is. That means users have had to memorize codes, or got through a cumbersome system of looking up the codes online."

Unless I'm reading this wrong, I don't think this is true. I look up the location of the B63 on my phone all the time and it shows me a real-time map.

Jan. 11 2012 06:08 PM
Bert

Any insight into why this has taken so darn long? Other cities (including DC, Boston, SF) have had this via NextBus for years in some cases.

http://www.nextbus.com/predictor/agencySelector.jsp

What's different about NYC / MTA? Is it the density of tall buildings making GPS tracking difficult? (Of course, that shouldn't be much of a problem outside of certain parts of Manhattan.) Foot-dragging by MTA?

Jan. 11 2012 10:17 AM

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