LinkNYC kiosks should include bus times, councilman says

City Councilman Brad Lander said the city should use LinkNYC kiosks to display bus arrival information.
City Councilman Brad Lander said the city should use LinkNYC kiosks to display bus arrival information. Photo Credit: AFP Getty Images / Nicholas Kamm

City Councilman Brad Lander called on the city Monday to speed up installation of bus countdown clocks across the city by tapping into existing street tech.

Lander, who helped bring 12 clocks to bus stops in his Brooklyn district, said bus arrival information should be displayed on LinkNYC kiosks. The councilman said it wouldn’t be too difficult for the city and Link’s operators to create a software patch that would access information from the MTA — info which is already available for app developers.

“Many of them are located close to a bus stop,” the councilman said of the Wi-Fi kiosks. “We believe it would be pretty straightforward.”

There are nearly 1,100 working Link kiosks throughout the city, and more than 7,500 are expected to be installed in the next few years as part of a contract designed to replace existing public pay phones. Lander said the city should continue to install more standalone countdown bus clocks, which cost $35,000 each, but kiosks serve as a low-cost complement.

The city and LinkNYC’s operators, however, said the request is not feasible at this time. Under current rules, the Wi-Fi kiosks are prohibited within 15 feet of a bus stop for accessibility reasons.

“While our franchise siting requirements don’t allow for any Links near bus stops, we thank Councilmember Lander for the suggestion. Links currently provide transit information and updates on the tablet via access to MTA.info,” said Ruth Fasoldt in a statement. Fasoldt serves as community affairs manager for Intersection, one of the companies responsible for the kiosks.

John Raskin, the executive director of transit advocacy group Riders Alliance, said the city should continue to push for more money and resources for countdown clocks to encourage New Yorkers to take the bus.

“If you’re going to bring people back to buses we need to assure them they are reliable,” he said.