Catching up on some transit news from Friday, the MTA has announced that MTA Bus Time has come to the Bronx. Here are the complete details via the press release I received:
The MTA’s live bus tracking service, MTA Bus Time™, has expanded to all bus routes serving the Bronx. Riders on 54 bus routes operated by New York City Transit and the MTA Bus Company can get the locations of buses in real time via smart phone, web and text message. Twenty-five of the bus routes also cross borough lines to serve Harlem, Washington Heights, and Inwood in Upper Manhattan, Midtown and Downtown Manhattan, Flushing, Queens, and Yonkers.
“Bus Time will completely change the way you use the bus,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota. “Instead of waiting at a bus stop in a state of uncertainty, now your phone can tell you when to start walking to the bus stop so you can get there right when the bus does.”
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said: “I am excited to hear that the MTA Bus Time Program has arrived in the Bronx, and just in time for the cold winter months ahead. This popular digital system is very convenient and will come in handy all year round, providing bus riders in our borough with up to the minute information to track the real-time location of their bus, so they no longer have to rely on guesswork. I applaud the MTA for expanding this program to the Bronx and I can’t wait for Bronxites to start taking advantage of this service.”
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.
Bus Time servers also feed raw data to app developers free of charge. Now that data is available for Bronx bus routes, a number of apps that already provide real-time information about buses can expand their offerings to cover the Bronx 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.
“Time is a precious resource for our customers, and Bus Time helps our customers get more of it back,” said Thomas F. Prendergast, President of MTA New York City Transit. “Bus Time means you can spend less time waiting for a train or a bus. In fact, now you can meet the bus when you know it’s approaching. From subway countdown clocks, to open data for apps, to real-time email and text alerts, to Bus Time, the revolution in digital information is benefiting New York City Transit customers more than ever before.”
Bus Time uses location data provided by an enhanced global positioning device mounted inside each bus. That information is transmitted wirelessly to a 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.
Today’s expansion more than doubles the size of the Bus Time system. Crews have installed enhanced GPS hardware in 1,034 buses that operate out of five depots. Computer databases have added information about 3,355 bus stops, augmenting the 3,365 bus stops already incorporated into the service.
“The real-time data that customers receive on their phones, PC’s and tablets is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what makes Bus Time work,” said Darryl Irick, Senior Vice President for Buses for MTA New York City Transit and President of the MTA Bus Company. “There has been an enormous amount of teamwork that has come together. I want to thank everyone who continues to play a role in rolling out this hugely impactful service.”
MTA Bus Time™ began serving all bus routes on Staten Island in January. It also serves four routes in Brooklyn and Manhattan, the B61, B63 and the Select Bus Service on M34 and M34A. The MTA is working to bring Bus Time to the remaining routes in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens over the next 18 months.
You may visit the MTA website to get direct links to all 54 routes in the Bronx. I hope that riders in the Bronx make use of this extremely helpful service.
xoxo Transit Blogger