New MBTA smart phone app adds pizazz to mobile arena

MBTA train-tracking cellphone apps are a dime a dozen. I have at least four on my phone, all of which perform moderately passable jobs at telling me when the next Red, Orange, or Blue Line train is scheduled to arrive at a station of my choosing.

But now, there’s a new app that may be a game-changer: ProximiT.

The app, designed by ex-Microsoft engineers Jeff Lopes and Randy Dailey, has garnered more than 5,000 downloads so far, and it’s ranked as high as #8 on the iTunes app store, where it’s received four out of five stars.

ProximiT gives you what you would expect: It provides real-time data on subway schedules and lets you know when the next train will pull up to the station. Additionally, it gives you the exact distance from your current location to the T station, useful if you’re in an unfamiliar spot.


But the app has an additional feature: If you and you phone enter are within a block radius of one of your “favorite’’ stations, the app will automatically let you know if there are any reported delays on the T.

“Just by glancing at your phone, and with minimal intrusiveness, you can know if you need to hurry, if you have time to go grab that coffee, or if you need to grab an Uber because MBTA service is interrupted,’’ Lopes wrote in an e-mail.

Plus, with the app’s sleek lines and classy white-on-black text, it’s pretty.

The big gripes: It doesn’t include data for the Green Line (because the MBTA does not yet provide this information) and it doesn’t offer bus data. Additionally, it fails to differentiate between Ashmont and Braintree trains heading south on the Red Line.

The developers say they’ll try to fix those things soon.

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