Real Time Bus Service Used by Third of Staten Island Riders

By Nicholas Rizzi on July 25, 2012 8:59am 

The free GPS tracking service called Bus Time has hit 1 million text message requests from riders looking for their buses.
The free GPS tracking service called Bus Time has hit 1 million text message requests from riders looking for their buses.
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DNAinfo/Leslie Albrecht

STATEN ISLAND — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Bus Time program, which lets riders text for real-time information on when their bus will arrive, has hit 1 million users in just seven months.

In Staten Island, more than 33,000 people  — nearly a quarter of Island riders — have sent text message requests for information on their buses' location, the MTA said in a press release.

"We are delighted by the rapid growth of the use of Bus Time," said MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota in a statement. "This is a service that can really make it much easier to ride the bus, so it's not a surprise that it's proven to be so popular."

The Bus Time service installed GPS systems into buses so when riders text their bus stop code or intersection to 511-123, the system can respond with how far away the next bus is.

Users can also view the information on their computer or smartphone, with each bus stop having a scannable QR code that links to the MTA's Bus Time site.

"The MTA is streamlining commuting by connecting riders with timely transit information when they need it – on the device they use most, their mobile phone," said Jed Alpert, CEO and Co-founder of Mobile Commons, the Brooklyn company that powers the service.

"The million-text milestone shows just how useful Bus Time has been, and how commuters have adopted it into their lives."

Since launching in Staten Island, the Bus Time has expanded to the B61 and B63 buses in Brooklyn and the M34 and M34A Select Bus Service routes in Manhattan.

The five most popular intersections for the bus time service are:

1. Broadway and Rector Street, Manhattan (X17 and X19 buses)

2. Battery Place and Washington Street, Manhattan (X10, X11, X12, X14, X17 and X19)

3. Hylan Boulevard and Clove Road, Staten Island (S53, S78, S79, X1, X2, X3 and X9)

4. Victory Boulevard and Clove Road, Staten Island (S61, S62, S66, S91, S92 and S93)

5. Broadway and East 13th Street, Manhattan (X1, X10 and X17)

The service is set to rollout to buses in the Bronx by the end of the year, the MTA said.

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