MTA NYC Transit Bus Arrival Info Here Now on 34th Street Crosstown
There are few things in life more frustrating than not knowing exactly when the next bus is scheduled to arrive at your bus stop. Recognizing that fact, the MTA has commenced a pilot program some have already dubbed "The Miracle on 34th Street" -- the installation of a new Customer Information System that provides both exact arrival time information at select bus stops along the M34/16 bus corridor and crystal clear audio announcements onboard the buses.
The system, provided by the firm Clever Devices has been installed on 30 buses assigned to MTA New York City Transit's Michael Quill Bus Depot and has been in operation since the summer as a joint project with the New York City Department of Transportation.
Bus customers on the M34/16 bus routes are benefiting from onboard automated voice announcements and text displays. Bus arrival information is displayed on LED signs mounted at the bus stop shelters, along with the temperature and the time of day.
"Using state-of-the-art technology to keep our bus and subway customers informed is a mandate that we have been given by MTA Chairman Walder and this is a mandate that we take extremely seriously and that we will expand upon," said NYC Transit President Thomas F. Prendergast. "I know that we have had some false starts but this technology is already in place elsewhere and our customers are rightfully asking: 'Well, why not here?'"
NYC Transit is working closely with City DOT on this project which is aimed squarely at making travel by bus a more enjoyable experience.
The bus information includes the route number, destination, and minutes to arrival. The signs receive information wirelessly through a cellular provider. "It works using a combination of sensors to determine the position of the vehicle, GPS is one of them. It's this combination of sensors that we call "Perfect Nav" that work in these congested corridors as you see on 34th Street," said William Long, President, Clever Devices.
Janette Sadik-Khan, DOT Commissioner said: "For New Yorkers it is all about time. You know, time is basically a commodity, and nobody really has enough time. So if we can make it easier for people to know if a bus is coming in 10 minutes, they got time to get a cup of coffee, to get a newspaper, to drop off a movie, that's exactly what we want to do."
The following eight bus stops are equipped with display signs:
- 1st Avenue
- 2nd Avenue
- 3rd Avenue
- Lexington Avenue
- 10th Avenue
- 9th Avenue
- 8th Avenue
- Park Avenue
Bus customers along the route think the time has definitely come for next bus information. "It's just going to make you feel more relaxed when you know its coming, noted John Weissman during his trip. Karen Kolbrecht added, "I think it's terrific. We live in an information age so it's really very relevant, very useful for people. Often you stand here and wonder when will the bus come; you get so full of anxiety wondering whether you should walk or wait for the bus. It's a great improvement, we're lucky to have it."
During the year, NYC Transit plans to test and evaluate products and systems from other vendors that provide real time customer information. Plans also call for the availability of real time bus arrival information through the MTA website. The aim here is to take the guessing aspect out of next bus arrival information.