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App of the Week: Tell Me Where the Next Bus Is

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You don't need an iPad or iPhone to use our App of the Week. In fact you don't need a computer. All you need to use the app called "Tell Me Where the Next Bus Is" is a touch-tone telephone.<br />
<div class="frame" style="float:right;width:291px;margin-top:5px;margin-left:8px;padding-bottom:2px;"><img src="/sites/default/files/archive/imgs/phone.jpg" title="App of the Week: Tell Me Where the Next Bus Is" alt="App of the Week: Tell Me Where the Next Bus Is" /></div>

"Tell Me Where the Next Bus Is" is an interactive audio service that uses real-time MTA data to let you know how far away your bus is. Here's how it works: If you're waiting for a bus on the B63 route in Brooklyn, you can use your cell phone to call 646-480-7193. When prompted, enter the 6-digit code for the bus stop where you are waiting. You'll find the number posted at the bus stop or listed <a href="http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/31483-b63-brochure-updown.html">in this document</a>. Within four to five seconds, a pleasant voice will tell you how many stops away the next bus is and confirm the location of the bus stop you entered. A typical call takes 20 seconds. </p>
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<a href="/news/stories/?story=321">Previous App of the Week: myBus NYC</a>
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The app uses data from the MTA's pilot Bus Time program, which provides real-time bus locations on the B63 via the web and text messaging. </p>
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The app was created in April 2011 as a side project by John Keefe, who works as a web and tech developer for WNYC radio. "We were covering the release of the real-time data on the B63 line, and I was talking to an editor about the various interfaces available, such as a web map and a texting system," he recalled. "She said she'd like something even simpler: ‘I want a phone number that will TELL me when the next bus is coming.'" So Keefe created this app that evening. </p>
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The MTA is working to expand Bus Time to all local and express bus routes in Staten Island by the end of the year and then to the rest of the bus routes in the city.<br />
Keefe said he plans to expand "Tell Me Where the Next Bus Is" to more routes as Bus Time expands. He's also working to make the service even easier to use, by eliminating the need to enter in the six-digit code. "I'm a big proponent of transparent civic information," he said. "I think real-time transit information is especially valuable. The data make the city more efficient, help people plan ahead and maybe even reduce stress."</p>