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New MTA App Tells Commuters When Their Train Will Arrive

By DNAinfo Staff on December 28, 2012 1:41pm

NEW YORK — A new app aims to make fewer straphangers feel stranded by train delays.

MTA Subway Time — which launched as a beta version for iPhones, iPads and the iPod touch on Friday — gives riders on seven subway lines real-time information about train arrivals, according to agency officials. A desktop version is available on the MTA website.

The free app features information for 156 stations of the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 lines as well as the 42nd Street Shuttle, where there are now countdown clocks for trains, MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said at a press conference Friday morning.

Lhota said the app, which has been in development since the summer, was prompted by straphangers' positive response to transportation updates available at some stations.

"Countdown clocks have been very successful and very popular," Lhota said, describing the initiative as a "know before you go" approach to commuting.

App users first pick the icon of a subway line, then choose a station to view estimated arrival times.

According to the MTA, estimates are provided for up to nine trains traveling in each direction. 

Data is synched with mta.info to take into account service changes and disruptions, officials said.

The MTA plans to add the L line to the app in six to 10 months, followed by the 7 train.

Though the app does not yet cover some key lines or work with other smartphone platforms, the MTA wanted to release the app now to see how it functioned, Lhota said.

"We're still in the test mode," he said, "but we want the public to test with us as we go forward."

The MTA will also give developers free access to the arrival data.

"Anyone can use it in creating their own app," Lhota said.