A pilot program for a “real-time” bus arrival information system is being tested on 34th Street as part of an effort to upgrade New York City’s bus service. The announcement was made by Mayor Mike Bloomberg; MTA officials; and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. The routes carry 17,000 passengers every day.
The program launches at eight New York bus shelters that serve two 34th Street lines; they include eastbound bus stops at Park, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Avenues, as well as westbound stops at First, Second, Third and Lexington Avenues. The information signs are updated every 30 seconds and announce the waiting time, in minutes, until the next bus arrives. The program uses computer-generated GPS satellite technology installed on the M3 and M16 routes.
The program will be evaluated over a six-month period with the goal of expanding the routes and stops; sadly, no plans seem to be in process for a similar program on the subway system, where it’s sorely needed. (Other cities already have such programs in place.)
NYC Transit is also exploring whether real-time arrival information could be made accessible to the public on cell phones or the internet.
On the upside, the pilot program will not cost the city (or the MTA) anything, since GPS technolgy is provided by Clever Devices (real name, honest); and panel space for the LED signs by Cemusa.
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