In a recent interview on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show, MTA chairman and CEO Tom Prendergast praised the Bus Time system—whose text-message component is run by Mobile Commons—which lets commuters know where their buses are in relation to their stop. He said that not only did riders want services like Bus Time to improve their transit experience, but also they are now expecting them. And soon, this system will be expanding citywide.
“Bus Time is a tremendous success for us,” he said. “Sometime in 2014… Bus Time will be implemented across all five boroughs of the system. It’s a tremendous tool for people to make a decision… do they sit at their desk for another ten minutes, or do they go down to the street and board the bus?”
“Bus Time is a tremendous tool for people to make a decision.” – MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast
The system, which uses GPS technology to track each bus, debuted on Staten Island early last year, and it’s been a tremendous boon to New York commuters. Anyone who has every relied on buses knows the feeling of waiting for one—when will it be here? Did I just miss it? Should I turn around and find some other means of transportation? But what if I leave, and it’s just around the corner? This sense of unreliability can lead people to become frustrated with and not choose bus transit.
But now, there’s no excuse. You don’t even need a smartphone. Just text the bus’s code (visible on their street signs, or available online) to 511123 to learn how close it is. And in early 2014, it won’t even matter what part of New York City you’re coming from—you can bus it anywhere.