As MTA Board members rail against the authority for neglecting the Bronx’s subway stations, the authority announced today that the city’s northernmost borough will be next in line for BusTime, the real-time bus tracking program currently in place on Staten Island. While the timeline for implementation remains a bit hazy, the authority pledged to have BusTime online in the Bronx and another yet-to-be-determined borough by the end of 2012 with the final two boroughs coming by the end of 2013.
“I am happy to hear that the MTA is expanding this service to the Bronx. Now bus riders in our borough will not have to rely on guesswork and a look into the distance to see when their bus is going to arrive. This service is very convenient and will provide commuters in our borough with up to the minute information. That information will surely come in handy all year round, especially during the cold winter months,” Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said in a statement.
To ready the Bronx fleet, the MTA and its contractors will outfit 1025 buses with GPS units and the other technological components needed to implement the service. In another 24 months, we’ll all get to enjoy a service that should markedly improve the New York City bus experience as smart phone-enabled bus tracking becomes the city norm. “Knowing how far away your next bus is means you can spend more time with your family or more time at a coffee shop instead of waiting at a bus stop in a state of uncertainty,” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said. “About 90% of our customers carry text-message enabled cell phones, so this is a big step forward to help make the lives of our customers a lot easier.”