Ever find yourself standing in the rain, snow, or sleet and wondering when the next bus will come? Now you can find out with just a tap on your cellphone or the click of a mouse, T officials said today.
Riders on all Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority bus lines can now use applications on their phones or smartphones or log on to the Web to find out when the next big yellow-and-white bus will pull up to their stop, the T announced today.
"We are taking the guesswork out of the daily commute for thousands of people who rely on T service across the region," Governor Deval Patrick said in a statement.
The T has equipped more than 1,000 buses with Global Positioning System devices so that T dispatchers know the location of every bus at all times. Less than 10 months ago, the T began making available the real-time position of buses on five routes available to software developers inviting them to create apps that would make the data useful to riders.
Within one hour of the initial data release, a developer had built an application showing the real-time position of the buses, officials said. Within two months, officials said, more than a dozen applications had been created, including websites, smartphone apps, text message services, and dial-in phone services.
Now, the T has released data on all 187 MBTA bus routes serving 47 Massachusetts cities and towns.
MBTA General Manager Richard Davey said, "Any time we can get information into our customers' hands that just improves their experience on the MBTA."
He said the T was "in the forefront" of major transit agencies nationwide in making such information available and New York City was looking at what the T was doing.
He said the agency's next step would be to release similar information for the Blue, Orange, and Red subway lines. Later, the agency hopes to provide the information for the Green Line, commuter trains, and harbor commuter boats, he said.
Some of the apps are free and some cost money for riders, he said. None of them cost the T any money.
The only cost to the T was staff time and purchasing one company's algorithm for calculating when buses will arrive at various stops, based on their current locations, he said.
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