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MTA BusTime Discussion

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Press Release

 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that MTA Bus Time® will expand to the Bronx, and then a third borough still to be announced, both before the end of the year. MTA Bus Time is a popular digital system that currently allows Staten Island customers to track the real-time location of their buses via the Internet, smart phone or text message. The final two boroughs will be brought online in 2013.

 

The 1,025 buses serving the Bronx will now receive GPS units and other hardware needed for MTA Bus Time, adding to the 900 buses on Staten Island that have the technology. MTA Bus Time uses technology components from two New York City-based tech startups, research support provided by a team of graduate students, and an innovative open standards technology platform that gives the MTA flexibility in management and expansion of the service.

 

The technology supplies a 21st century answer to the question bus riders have been asking since motorized bus service was first introduced in New York City more than a century ago.

 

"Knowing how far away your next bus is means you can spend more time with your family or more time at a coffee shop instead of waiting at a bus stop in a state of uncertainty," said MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota. "About 90% of our customers carry text-message enabled cell phones, so this is a big step forward to help make the lives of our customers a lot easier."

 

"I am happy to hear that the MTA is expanding this service to the Bronx. Now bus riders in our borough will not have to rely on guesswork and a look into the distance to see when their bus is going to arrive. This service is very convenient and will provide commuters in our borough with up to the minute information. That information will surely come in handy all year round, especially during the cold winter months," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

 

"MTA Bus Time has been a huge hit on Staten Island," said Darryl Irick President of the MTA Bus Company and Senior Vice President of NYC Transit's Department of Buses. "It means a lot to a bus rider to be able to use the technology that they have in their pocket or on their desktop to determine how many stops away the next bus is."

 

Any comments?

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Glad to know that you guys, piece by piece, will get bustime added throughout. I would imagine that Brooklyn or Queens might've gotten a crack in phase 2 (still could), but after testing it out on SI first, it's definitely in the right direction.

 

Just have to be aware of "phantom" buses (like we do here in Chicago), as well as a what supervisors and dispatchers tend to do with information in the sake of efficiency.

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To reach two more boroughs by the end of the year, I think the MTA will launch one (presumably Bronx) by the middle of the year. This is great news!

 

I wonder if Bx23 and Bus Co expresses will get it?

 

MTA's photos of the hardware (click for all):

MTA Bus Time Hardware Installation - a set on Flickr

 

6731517457_d4c84a338e_b.jpg

6731515429_6a0946c75a_b.jpg

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Two things... I find it interesting that the (MTA) talks about folks using their desktops for Bus Time. Clearly enough folks do use their desktops to track buses.

 

Second, why are there so many "ghost buses"?? This past week there has been at least 4 ot 5 ghost buses, mainly on the local routes. There was an S54 that was a ghost bus and another one last week on Friday. One was new (NOVA) and one was a Orion (6XXX). I've also been noticing this tendency to show a bus (usually (2224 or 2226) at the first stop, when in reality that bus either doesn't exist or broke down or something. The bus appears for a while and then eventually disappears giving the illusion of a bus existing that simply doesn't.

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Second, why are there so many "ghost buses"?? This past week there has been at least 4 ot 5 ghost buses, mainly on the local routes. There was an S54 that was a ghost bus and another one last week on Friday. One was new (NOVA) and one was a Orion (6XXX). I've also been noticing this tendency to show a bus (usually (2224 or 2226) at the first stop, when in reality that bus either doesn't exist or broke down or something. The bus appears for a while and then eventually disappears giving the illusion of a bus existing that simply doesn't.

 

Just a guess, but maybe the driver forgot to turn the computer off and so when he/she restarted the bus to deadhead back to the depot, it still shows as the route?

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Just a guess, but maybe the driver forgot to turn the computer off and so when he/she restarted the bus to deadhead back to the depot, it still shows as the route?

 

The thing is though, one of those bus numbers pooped up on the S53, which is a local bus route. They don't go anywhere. They just show up at the first stop, stay there as if they're the next bus and then maybe 10 minutes later they disappear. I got burned with that thing last week. I saw it appear on the X30 which I thought was the last bus because nothing appeared for a long time and then that came up. Sat there for 10 - 15 minutes and then nothing. I just wound up taking an X12 since I stayed in the office and worked anyway, so it wasn't a big deal.

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The thing is though, one of those bus numbers pooped up on the S53, which is a local bus route. They don't go anywhere. They just show up at the first stop, stay there as if they're the next bus and then maybe 10 minutes later they disappear. I got burned with that thing last week. I saw it appear on the X30 which I thought was the last bus because nothing appeared for a long time and then that came up. Sat there for 10 - 15 minutes and then nothing. I just wound up taking an X12 since I stayed in the office and worked anyway, so it wasn't a big deal.

 

Geez, I thought you were a perfectionist when it came to making mistakes like that. :P

 

In any case, that's definitely odd. It doubt it was a deadheading bus, since it was traveling in the peak direction (it wouldn't have come into Manhattan as an X30 because it was the PM rush). Maybe the driver accidentally typed in the wrong code and it showed up as an X30, and then when he realized his mistake, he typed in the correct code and it disappeared.

 

I guess that's the danger in letting a crowded bus go by in hopes of catching the less crowded one behind it: That second, empty bus might not exist in reality.

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I've noticed idle buses myself. Maybe it's something with the lag in the bus sending its data to the server and having it refresh its location. As with anything, bugs are always bound to happen and feedback to the Bus CIS team is always helpful in them fixing these problems. Eventually, Bus Time will become a pretty neat package and with it being open-source, it'll only get better with open development and feedback.

 

Also, I figured the Bronx was next since Brooklyn and Queens might take a little bit to get things together (MTA Bus scheduling vs NYCB scheduling). I definitely think Manhattan will be the last to get the system because they might want to get it to be really reliable and test it on the routes that enter Manhattan and not just the ones on the island itself but 2013 is just around the corner and eventually every bus will have it. Now just have to see what they do with rail.

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Be happy you guys have something. I'm still stuck out here in the cold waiting for over 20 minutes for the blasted 38 to come.

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About damn time!!!

 

It makes me wonder if the MTA will one day kill paper schedules, with this?

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Geez, I thought you were a perfectionist when it came to making mistakes like that. B)

 

In any case, that's definitely odd. It doubt it was a deadheading bus, since it was traveling in the peak direction (it wouldn't have come into Manhattan as an X30 because it was the PM rush). Maybe the driver accidentally typed in the wrong code and it showed up as an X30, and then when he realized his mistake, he typed in the correct code and it disappeared.

 

I guess that's the danger in letting a crowded bus go by in hopes of catching the less crowded one behind it: That second, empty bus might not exist in reality.

 

Well I have an excuse... I went to bed after 04:00 this morning and was back up at 07:30... :eek: Actually we can say pooped since that's exactly what happened... ;) Funny thing is what you described is exactly what I thought... That a B/O screwed up because the X30 never runs 22XXs (the newer ones I mean) since Meredith doesn't have any (though they do have some of the older 22XXs), so I assumed that it was one that was being borrowed for a run out of Castleton. The X12 occasionally does this.

 

--------------

 

Regarding Bus Time to the Bronx, I don't see it making much of a difference on the BxM1, BxM2 and even the BxM18 to an extent. I tell ya those buses run like water. :drool: Not used to seeing so many express buses run so frequently like that. :) I can practically set my phone to those buses. So prompt... Coming home tonight from Spuyten Duyvil, the BxM1 came right on time 19:24, which was followed immediately with the BxM2 right behind it. I love the idea of having choices, so I took the BxM2 since I needed to stop at Whole Foods there in Columbus Circle and I also didn't feel like stopping in Inwood either. Rather annoying. :tdown:

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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About damn time!!!

 

It makes me wonder if the MTA will one day kill paper schedules, with this?

 

Njt used similar tech as an excuse to not post paper schedules but mta may do it soon you never know

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Just did a perusal of BusTime, and at this time, when the S54 is running, no bus shows up. Last night, there was no service shown on the S48 using BusTime. Am I to presume that Xcelsiors are running on the S54 right now without BusTime?

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Just did a perusal of BusTime, and at this time, when the S54 is running, no bus shows up. Last night, there was no service shown on the S48 using BusTime. Am I to presume that Xcelsiors are running on the S54 right now without BusTime?

 

The Xcelsiors are new buses, maybe they haven't gotten around to it yet...

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Just did a perusal of BusTime, and at this time, when the S54 is running, no bus shows up. Last night, there was no service shown on the S48 using BusTime. Am I to presume that Xcelsiors are running on the S54 right now without BusTime?

 

Well some buses are not showing up on the friggin map. This morning there was an 08:18 S48 scheduled that didn't appear so I figured it was a no show and planned to take the 08:38 S48. He showed up on my phone and laptop (7063), but once he got to the ferry he disappeared and never came back on the map. :mad: To cover myself, I waited at Forest & Broadway to give myself the option of the S53 and the S48 over to the X10. He did come around 08:40 and came just in time for me to miss the X10 connection. :D Anywho, something is definitely wrong. Several S54s have not shown up on the map but come as scheduled.

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Just did a perusal of BusTime, and at this time, when the S54 is running, no bus shows up. Last night, there was no service shown on the S48 using BusTime. Am I to presume that Xcelsiors are running on the S54 right now without BusTime?

 

The S54 isn't running today (as well as the S55, S56 and S76) because buses today are running on a SATURDAY schedule.

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The S54 isn't running today (as well as the S55, S56 and S76) because buses today are running on a SATURDAY schedule.

 

I was going to "correct" him too about the S54, but then he also mentioned the S48 which should certainly be showing on the map. Two S48s didn't show on the map this morning coming from the ferry. The one I got did show up on the map going to the ferry but not going towards the X10. Very strange.

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Yeah I think when the buses are off at the terminals then they don't show on the BusTime.

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Yeah I think when the buses are off at the terminals then they don't show on the BusTime.

 

Well what confused me was the bus I got this morning came up going towards the ferry, made it to the terminal and then went off of the map and never re-appeared. It seems like there must be some button or something that they must have to press in order for them to come up because I've seen several buses appear then come to the terminal and then disappear and then re-appear while the bus is well out of the terminal and making a run back the other way. Has happened a few times with S53s that I've been tracking.

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Yeah I think when the buses are off at the terminals then they don't show on the BusTime.

 

I think he means that the bus didn't show up on BusTime Arlington-bound, even after it left the terminal. The B/O probably forgot to set the thing that allows him to be tracked.

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I think he means that the bus didn't show up on BusTime Arlington-bound, even after it left the terminal. The B/O probably forgot to set the thing that allows him to be tracked.

 

Yeah and if the B/O has to do something in order for them to be tracked then that sucks because more and more buses have been problems to track of late and you can't tell if the bus is MIA or just not coming up on the tracking system. Last week there was an MIA S54. I went to the stop anyway because I thought perhaps he was just missing on the map, but he never came and caused me to be late getting to work since I had to wait almost 30 minutes for the next one. :mad: They need to get it together. I expect problems but this seems to be happening more and more frequently for no good reason. Apparently folks on the South Shore have it even worse. The X17 has been a mess in terms of showing where buses are. Several buses will be "MIA" on the map, but in reality they all come either on time or in bunches.

 

They also are becoming too comfortable with buses arriving early on certain lines.

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If I'm not mistaken, I believe that the B/O needs to have the destination sign set for the system to acknowledge the bus. If he changes it to "next bus please" or turns off the bus on his break, I believe it will not show up. If he does not change the sign back before the next run, it think it will not show up.

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The original poster has a point there. The XD40 buses aren't showing up in BusTime. I don't think the GPS tracking has been installed on these specific buses, like what most people said.

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