This tip is only for New Yorkers. Everyone else, go back to enjoying your summer!
Okay, New Yorkers. Do you ride public transportation? If so, then you should know about MTA Bus Time.
I’m sure you’ll recognize this scenario. You’re standing at a bus stop waiting for a bus. You keep walking out into traffic to peer down the street to see if there’s a bus in the distance. You can’t see anything because there are trucks in the way. You’re stressed out.
What if you knew exactly where the bus was? Would you be more relaxed?
The good folks at the MTA have provided MTA Bus Time (http://bustime.mta.info). Use your smart phone to access the site, type in the route number of the bus you are waiting for (such as M104), and find out exactly where the bus is. Having that information at your fingertips enables you to use your time more effectively. For example, if you discover the bus is still far away, you may opt to take the subway instead, or to walk. Or at least to contact the person you are meeting to update your ETA.
If you have multiple ways of getting where you are going, you can ask MTA Bus Time to let you know about all buses that stop nearby by selecting “Nearby Stops” or “Nearby Routes” instead of a specific bus line. Then you can see which one is coming the soonest. You can also type in the code that appears on each bus stop, scan a QR code, or type in the streets of an intersection.
Here is one way that I use MTA Bus Time. I live on the Upper East Side, and I have clients on the Upper West Side. While the crosstown bus is going through Central Park, I monitor the different West Side bus lines so that I know where to get off the bus and make my connection. If none of them are close, I know to get off at the Avenue nearest to my client and walk the rest of the way.
Routes in all five boroughs are included. Visit the site to see if your favorite bus lines are included.
MTA Bus Time takes a lot of the aggravation out of commuting. I hope you will start using it so that you can have a more efficient and relaxed day. Plus you can impress all the other people at the bus stop by telling them the bus is two stops away.
I don’t live in NY, and I don’t ride the bus. But I HAVE ridden buses, and that sounds super handy!