N.Y. MTA expands real-time bus tracking

Posted on October 8, 2013

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) live bus tracking service, MTA Bus Time, has been expanded to cover all Manhattan bus routes.

Customers can get the locations of Manhattan buses in real time via smart phone, Web and text message. This is the third borough to offer MTA Bus Time on its buses, and the MTA is on track to offer MTA Bus Time on every bus route in New York City in the next six months.

“MTA Bus Time is a game changer and a service that greatly enhances our customers’ experience with bus travel,” said MTA Chairman/CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “MTA Bus Time has turned your phone into a tool that tells you when to start walking to the bus stop so you can get there right when the bus does. Meet your bus, don’t wait for it.”

The expansion adds nearly 1,800 bus stops to the MTA Bus Time system bringing the total to 6,000. Crews have now installed enhanced GPS hardware in 2,852 buses operating in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island.

MTA Bus Time began serving all bus routes on Staten Island in January 2012 and Bronx routes last November. It also continues to serve two routes in Brooklyn, the B61 and B63. The MTA is working to bring MTA Bus Time to the remaining routes in Brooklyn and Queens within the next six months.

MTA Bus Time uses location data provided by an enhanced global positioning device mounted inside each bus. That information is transmitted wirelessly to a MTA Bus Time server using onboard cellular equipment. The server integrates bus location data with bus route info, schedules and map files to output the information received by bus customers.

MTA Bus Time servers also feed raw data to app developers free of charge. Now that data is available for Manhattan bus routes, a number of apps that already provide real-time information about buses can expand their offerings to cover Manhattan as well.

MTA Bus Time is made possible by a number of contractors, including Cubic Transportation Systems, Cambridge Systematics, Verifone, Open Plans Transportation and Mobile Commons.

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