December 19, 2013

N.Y. MTA adds first official apps

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced the creation of the first official apps for customers of Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road  (LIRR).

The apps, known as Metro-North Train Time and LIRR Train Time, are available now for Android and iPhone and are free to download.

Built from each railroad’s Web-based Train Time data feed, the apps make it easy to find out — with nothing more than the tap of a finger — when the next trains are due at your station, whether each one is running on time and which track each one is slated to use.

“These apps are designed to be the definitive mobile go-to source for all the information someone would need in order to ride an LIRR or Metro-North train,” said MTA Chairman/CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “We always say ‘Know Before You Go’ because it makes traveling with us a lot easier, and these apps put a trove of useful information right into your hands when you are on the move.”

LIRR Train Time, which previously had existed as a pilot program on the Port Washington Branch and West Hempstead Branch, now serves all LIRR stations and branches. The data it contains is being made more accurate by combining real-time train positions available through the signal system with data from train-mounted GPS units and replicates information currently available to customers on the digital signs currently at all of LIRR’s 124 stations and terminals. Metro-North Railroad activated its Train Time data service at 67 stations in January 2010 and expanded it two months later to all 96 of the currently enabled stations.

The departure tracks are posted in the apps at the same time that they are posted at digital signs in stations, where available. Tracks are usually available more than an hour in advance at most stations. At Penn Station, where platforms are much busier than elsewhere and shared by three railroads, track listings are posted about 10 minutes prior to departure.

The apps also make it easy to find out fare information, see railroad maps and learn about stations, including waiting room hours, parking availability, connecting transit services, status of accessibility for the disabled, elevator and escalator status, and phone numbers for area taxi companies.

Each app also includes real-time service status, brief up-to-the-minute service alerts, railroad news items, info on special deals and getaway packages, and more detailed notices about service changes resulting from planned track work. And, each app also includes information about connecting with the railroad via social media, e-mail and 511.

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