Bus shelters now displaying arrival times
It’s a common question on the streets of New York, sometimes peppered with some choice adjectives: Where’s the bus?
Starting today, riders on 34th Street got a large part of the answer, as the MTA installed digital displays at eight shelters along the M34 and M16 routes showing estimated arrival times for the next four buses.
“It already exists in London, Chicago and other cities and it’s what we need here,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said during a news conference in front of one of the shelters, on Park Avenue.
The displays, similar to those on the L subway line, were done free of charge by the contractor that built the shelters and, if the pilot program is successful, the MTA will purchase them throughout the city over the next few years, officials said.
Similar programs have been tried more than once and never worked, NYC Transit President Howard Roberts acknowledged.
“The difference here is . . . this has basically worked since they turned it on,” said Roberts.
The displays, which also give the time and temperature, are not perfect. A few times yesterday, a bus was listed as “due” several minutes before it showed up. Officials said that GPS devices in the buses communicate with the shelters and through an algorithm it is determined how far away they are.