Earlier this morning, I received word from the MTA that its real time bus tracking system, BusTime has been expanded to cover all Manhattan bus routes. Here is more via press release:
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that its live bus tracking service, MTA Bus Time™, has expanded to cover all Manhattan bus routes. Customers can get the locations of Manhattan buses in real time via smart phone, web and text message. This is the third borough to offer MTA Bus Time™ on its buses, and the MTA is on track to offer MTA Bus Time™ on every bus route in New York City in the next six months.
“MTA Bus Time™ is a game changer and a service that greatly enhances our customers’ experience with bus travel,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “MTA Bus Time™ has turned your phone into a tool that tells you when to start walking to the bus stop so you can get there right when the bus does. Meet your bus, don’t wait for it.”
“MTA Bus Time™ helps our customers make the most of their valuable time,” said Carmen Bianco, President of MTA New York City Transit. “Our customers can now spend less time waiting for a bus if they know when it’s coming. Know before you go.”
“The real-time data that customers receive on their phones, PC’s and tablets is another example of our firm commitment to bring our system into the 21st century,” said Darryl Irick, Senior Vice President for Buses for MTA New York City Transit and President of the MTA Bus Company. “Taking the guesswork out of riding a bus through real-time arrival information is a logical step toward that goal, and I look forward to seeing every bus in the City equipped with MTA Bus Time™ next year.”
The routes added today are the: M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, M7, M8, M9, M10, M11, M14A, M14D, M15, M15 SBS, M20, M21, M22, M23, M31, M35, M42, M50, M57, M60, M66, M72, M79, M86, M101, M102, M103, M104, M106, and M116.
The M34 and M34A are already equipped with MTA Bus Time™ along with 21 Bronx routes and 20 Staten Island routes that have a Manhattan portion to their trip. Brooklyn and Queens bus routes which operate a portion of their service in Manhattan will be added when those boroughs add MTA Bus Time™ to their routes in the next six months. Approximately 93 percent of all Manhattan bus customers can now access MTA Bus Time™.
Today’s expansion adds nearly 1,800 bus stops to the MTA Bus Time™ system bringing the total to 6,000. Crews have now installed enhanced GPS hardware in 2,852 buses operating in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island.
MTA Bus Time™ began serving all bus routes on Staten Island in January 2012 and Bronx routes last November. It also continues to serve two routes in Brooklyn, the B61 and B63. The MTA is working to bring MTA Bus Time™ to the remaining routes in Brooklyn and Queens within the next six months.
MTA Bus Time™ uses location data provided by an enhanced global positioning device mounted inside each bus. That information is transmitted wirelessly to a MTA Bus Time™ server using onboard cellular equipment. The server integrates bus location data with bus route info, schedules and map files to output the information received by bus customers.
MTA Bus Time™ is easy to use in three ways: Click it. Text it. Scan it.
• Click it: From any web-enabled smart phone or desktop computer, just go to bustime.mta.info and enter a bus route, intersection, street address, landmark, or bus stop code. You’ll get a map showing where buses are located within the specific route or region you’ve searched. Click on a bus stop or a bus for more detailed information.
• Text it: Text an intersection or street address to 511123 from any cell phone to receive a message listing local bus routes. Select a route and direction to learn the location of the closest bus stop and how far away the next buses are. Bus distances are given in terms of miles away if the bus is far, in terms of bus stops away if it’s close.
o Tip: You can save a step by texting a bus stop code instead. Bus stop codes are provided in text responses, are online at Bus Time’s website, and printed on the Guide-A-Ride schedules posted at bus stops.
• Scan it: If you have a smart phone with a QR Code reader, scan the QR Code printed on the Guide-A-Ride schedules posted at bus stops. Without touching a button, your smart phone will instantly take you to information about buses approaching the stop where you’re standing. Because of Hurricane Sandy and the nor’easter, some bus stops do not yet have Guide-A-Rides showing the QR Codes and bus stop codes. They will be updated soon.
MTA Bus Time™ servers also feed raw data to app developers free of charge. Now that data is available for Manhattan bus routes, a number of apps that already provide real-time information about buses can expand their offerings to cover Manhattan as well. Try out these apps by downloading them via the iTunes app store or the Android Marketplace:
• iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch: All Aboard NYC; All Schedules Free; Bing Mobile; Bus New York City; Google Maps for Mobile; In Time Staten Island; Ride On Time NYC; Roadify; Transit Times.
• Android: Bus Tracker Pro – MTA NY; Sched NYC.
MTA Bus Time™ is made possible by a number of contractors, including Cubic Transportation Systems, Cambridge Systematics, Verifone, Open Plans Transportation, and Mobile Commons. For more information, go to http://bustime.mta.info/.
My initial reaction is about time! It is a shame that a world leading city like New York has been decades behind smaller cities in terms of transit technology. Here is to hoping that riders use BusTime to its full advantage.
xoxo Transit Blogger