By the end of the year, numbered-line riders will be able to check their phone and know when the next train is about to arrive, thanks to an MTA app for smartphones, according to the New York Daily News.
“The MTA is very close to being able to provide real-time train arrival data without having to go into the station,” MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg told the paper. “We want everyone to access the countdown clocks on numbered lines just by looking at their phone.”
Lisberg also added that the MTA will release the data in a free and open stream so that developers in the private sector can create new apps.
“It’s like having a subway countdown clock right in your home or your pocket,” Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign told the Daily News. “It’s just the exact information riders want and need, especially at off-hours when trains arrive less often.”
So why just the numbered lines that will be supported by the app? All of the numbered subway lines (except for the 7), are in the A division in the MTA’s internal system, while the lettered lines are in the B division, according to the paper.
The MTA has spent hundreds of millions of dollars giving first priority to the A-division lines, and a train’s location can be pinpointed anywhere. B-division lines, on the other hand, use an older signal system, and trains can only be located when they are near a dispatcher’s tower.
MTA officials say lettered-line riders can expect a countdown clock system in three to five years.