New York City Transit has officially flipped the switch on its own in-house real-time bus tracking project. A few hours ago, its pilot program around the B63 — which I discussed in an in-depth exclusive this morning — went live. It’s now available at the MTA’s BusTime site, and the Developer API is ready to go as well.
“Today, the transit system is quickly catching up with our 21st century expectation that real-time information is available on the go for all New Yorkers,” MTA Chair and CEO Jay Walder said in a statement. “That means knowing if your bus is on time before you leave home, getting updates on delays while you’re out and about, and unlocking opportunities for better service across our entire network. MTA BusTime is a big part of this new vision for bus service in New York.”
As I explained this morning, the new tracker, developed with OpenPlans, uses an open-source software program along with a GPS device with dead reckoning, an on-board wireless modem and an internal computer to keep tabs on the buses along the B63. The MTA is offering web- and text message-based tracking for buses and is working with merchants to install LCD signs displaying bus locations in real-team along the route. For customers used to frustratingly long waits for buses and glances down busy avenues, this should take the guess work out of waiting for buses that sometimes don’t show up at all.
“We are working hard to provide up-to-the minute travel information for both bus and subway customers,” Transit president Thomas Prendergast said. “There are few things as frustrating as having to guess when the next bus is going to show up at your stop. With MTA BusTime, next bus arrival times are right in your hand.”
If all goes well with the pilot, this system will be installed in all Staten Island buses later this year. For more from OpenPlans, check out their posting on the project.