'Bus Time' System Is Now Active In Manhattan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Imagine knowing exactly when your bus will arrive, with no frustration and no wasted time.

As CBS 2’s Don Champion reported Tuesday, technology for hundreds of Metropolitan Transportation Authority buses is giving commuters a break.

From traffic to congested subway cars, being patient is part of living and commuting in New York. But there’s something about waiting for a bus.

“It can be very annoying, and now that it’s getting cold, it’s going to be even more annoying,” said bus commuter Olga Akimankova.

But riders can now shave time off their waits, as the MTA just expanded its “Bus Time” program to Manhattan.

“We like to say is ‘meet your bus’ instead of ‘wait for it,’” spokesman Kevin Ortiz said.

Using GPS systems installed on 2,800 buses, the program allows riders to find out when their bus will arrive.

On the MTA website, you can now pick your route, and a map of where buses are along it will pop up. If you click on one, you will get the estimated wait.

Bus stops also now feature QR codes riders can scan with their smartphones.

But you don’t even need a smartphone to figure out when your bus will be arriving. Stops in Manhattan have now been assigned a code, and if you text that code to a number displayed on the bus stop sign, you will get a text with your wait time.

“This is part of our on-going effort to bring new technology, and you know bring our system to the 21st century,” Ortiz said.

CBS 2 tested the system out with riders at three stops, and each time, the arrival estimates were accurate.

At a cost of $7,200 bus, riders hope it’s reliable and saves them time.

“This is terrific, because otherwise, I would start to walk,” said commuter Norah Brown.

The time program will expand to Queens and Brooklyn by early next year. The program is already active in Staten Island and the Bornx.

The MTA is also working on timing systems for lettered subway lines. Numbered lines and the L line display estimated arrival times in stations.

The subway timing system should be up and running within the next few years.

Other cities have successfully implemented similar systems, including the Chicago Transit Authority with it Bus Tracker and Train Tracker systems, and its Transit Stop app.

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