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error46146

LIRR Train Time

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Well, it's for more than the Port Wash branch! By manipulating the URL, one is able to see times for all stations!

 

List of codes (I found these by guessing and then looking in the source of local trains which list stops):

 

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B1GvV8zOxI2SOGNlZmYwNDgtYTFlMS00M2VmLWIxZTktZDFmMzhhZGE2OGJl

 

Example:

 

Penn to Mineola

http://wx3.lirr.org/lirr/TrainTime/traintime.php?startsta=NYK&endsta=MIN

LIRR Train Time

 

One thing I hate is that a destination must be entered. Can't just choose a station and see all departures from it.

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Bizarrely, omitting the startsta parameter defaults to Woodside. Omitting the endsta defaults to Jamaica.

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TrainTime has Finally Arrived!

In an announcement this morning, the LIRR proclaimed the launch of TrainTime for all LIRR stations systemwide.  Quite a while ago the LIRR piloted a TrainTime program for just the stations on the Port Washington Branch, and a little while later it was expanded to include the West Hemsptead Branch, but for a long time riders at the majority of the LIRR's stations did not have access to it.  That is, until today.

LIRR TrainTime for all stations is now available at:

mta.info/lirr/TrainTime/


The LIRR's version of TrainTime asks you for a station pair, then gives you all of the trains, and the necessary connections, traveling between those two stops.  It's different from Metro-North's where you just say what station you want and it gives you a departure board of that station, and you figure out what train you need to take from there.

While the station-to-station functionality can be helpful for occasional riders, it complicates things and can cause quite a few bugs.  Those bugs were likely what was delaying the full roll-out of TrainTime (and looking at it, it looks like several of those bugs still haven't been fixed before the release).

I don't find much utility in the station-to-station aspect of the LIRR's TrainTime, since you can get schedules between two stations already by just using the Schedules page on the LIRR's website, and the TrainTime page doesn't seem to have all that much more than what the LIRR already have.  Metro-North's TrainTime is simplifed, but still very useful, and is likely much more simpler to design and maintain than the LIRR's verison.

But nonetheless, this is what we have.  The web version of TrainTime still seems to have a handful of bugs that will need to be worked out.  TrainTime works fine if you are traveling between a station and a western terminal, or a station and another station that train serves on the same branch.  But, if you are traveling intra-island, or on any trip that requires an indirect connection someplace (i.e. going from Glen Head to Merillon Avenue with a transfer at Mineola) TrainTime will not return any trains.  Even if you are going in the same direction, TrainTime will sill give you the impression that there are no possible routes, as it only includes direct transfers as ways to get you from point A to B.  Hopefully it's a glitch they will work out soon, as it can be misleading to some if you don't have a good understanding of the way the schedules work already.

With the release of systemwide TrainTime this morning, the MTA also unveiled two new apps for LIRR and Metro-North Riders.  The TrainTime apps for iPhone (available from the Apple Store) and Android (from Google Play) were also made available today.  The apps are free and the splash screen features a photo of a dual mode back before they got their horns and numbers rearranged, so the photo's probably older than the iPhone itself, but I guess that's not all that important.

I've only played with the app for a short while, but I've been a bit underwhelmed by it so far.  I'm no app reviewer, as I don't really do all that much on the phone and my profession isn't all that reliant on technology, so I can't give you a grand review, but it seems slow and choppy to me.  Just like the web version of TrainTime, it asks you for a station pair then gives you the next several trains between those stops over the course of the next three hours.  Unlike the web version of TrainTime, however, it does give you intra-island trips and trains that require indirect transfers, so that's a nice plus.

The app does lists the fares, and it seems to be able to discriminate between peak and off-peak and only show the one you need for the train you have selected, but for those intra-island trips, especially those that require you to change direction (and get a via ticket), it just tells you to call 511 and say LIRR, which isn't all that useful.

You can also get station information for each station, just like you can on the stations page online.  It gives you a photo, an address that can eventually be sent over to a GPS application, information on connecting services including phone numbers, services, waiting room hours, ticket office hours, and escalator/elevator availability, which is pretty nice.  (though, as I'm writing this, the elevator at Rockville Centre has been reported as out of service and the app doesn't seem to be updating).

The app also gives you current service status.  It's the same box you see all over the place (including the right margin of this site) that lists "Good Service," "Service Change," "Delays," etc.  There is a page with all of the alerts they issued that you can tap on and read, and it has a Special Notices tab that shows you all of the LIRR's recent announcements.  What it doesn't seem to do is give push alerts for late trains or service disruptions. You should all be signed up for e-mail/text alerts already, but I would imagine it would be nice if the app could give you a push alert when things go wrong.  On the individual station-to-station trip screen it does look like it will tip you off if something is wrong, but unless you check you will have no way of knowing.

Then there is a list of all of the LIRR's various social media sites  that will direct you to their respective apps.  Lastly, there are links to various useful pages on the LIRR's website.

Among some of the other things I, and others, have noticed at first, it appears the app does not post track numbers for trains at New York Penn (so you still have to have your eyes glued to the board), and the app does seem to lag quite a bit when it comes to late trains (trains will often still show up as "on-time" for quite a while after they've been reported late.

Anyways, it is still good to see they are making at least some progress with TrainTime.  They're not out of the woods yet, as there still is a lot they can do to fix and improve both the web-based and mobile apps, so hopefully they will continue to work on that.  Personally, I don't have much use for TrainTime, since at my home station, there is one and only one AM peak train and it always leaves at 5:39am.  On Summer Monday's there's a bonus train at 7:01am, but by this point I know all of the stops and times for the small handful of trains that go between Long Island City and Montauk by memory, so yours truly won't be making tremendous use of the apps.

Hopefully the LIRR will continue to improve on and develop more stuff like this for their riders.  Scoring those discretionary riders is a great way for the LIRR to improve its ridership during the off-peak periods where there is the most room for improvement, and making things easier to understand for those less familiar with the railroad is a step in the right direction.  As always, you should use TrainTime and its various deviations as resources.  Last minute track and schedule changes are still very possible, so don't rely exclusively on the app to get you where you need to go--and don't get annoyed at the LIRR when you ignore the disclaimer and get left behind!
 
Posted on 12/19/2013 01:00:00 PM  No comments:
See More Posts About: MTA Announcements, News, TrainTime

Edited by lirr42

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