Over the last few years, we’ve seen straphangers come to embrace the MTA’s countdown clocks as a much-needed piece of transit technology. Having information on wait times leads to happier and more informed commuters, and the clamor to bring such technology to the lettered B Division subway lines has grown only louder. The countdown clocks aren’t the only pieces of travel-improving technology that have been warmly embraced by the city’s transit travelers, and two recent articles shed some light on other improvements.
First up, we have word out of Staten Island that Bus Time, the MTA’s in-house solution to real-time bus tracking, has proven popular. According to the MTA, nearly 33,000 bus riders on Staten Island — or a quarter of the borough’s riders — have checked in on the location of their bus, and the entire system has received over a million hits.
I’ve used it regularly along the B63’s route through Brooklyn, and while not having a time-based model takes some adjustment, I’ve been able to figure out approximately how long a wait would be based on distance. While such a calculation may vary from line to line, the system seems to be popular and both more flexible and less expensive than proprietary ones. The Bronx will get its deployment before the year is out.
Next, we have an udate on underground wifi. Straphangers waiting for trains and passing through wired stations have enjoyed the free service from Boingo and Google Offers as Transit Wireless continues to build out its subway cell and wifi network. The current Google sponsorship expires in September, but Transit Wireless says they plan on lining up similar deals for continued free service.
The company, meanwhile, says it’s still on track to bring 30 more stations online before the end of the year. “If you got a long commute, that could be as long as 30 minutes, that you are basically without any type of connectivity which some for people is like cutting off their arm,” Dawn Callahan, an official at Boingo, said. “So I think that this presents people a way for them to stay connected.”