There have been apps for train schedules for a while, but now the MTA is offering its first official tap-and-find source to tell you not only when the next Metro-North or Long Island Rail Road train is due, but whether it’s on time.
The app uses the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s web-based Train Time systems.
Here’s the MTA release on it:
MTA Releases Free Apps for LIRR and Metro-North Customers and Expands LIRR Train Time™ to All Branches and Stations
Customers Can Get Quick, Easy Access to Real-Time Train Arrival Information, Maps, Fare Information, Station Details, Service Alerts and More
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced the creation of the first official apps for customers of Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road. The apps, known as Metro-North Train Time and LIRR Train Time, are available now for Android and iPhone. The apps are free to download and free of ads. They come just in time for a busy weekend when customers will be taking to the rails for shopping and holiday events.
Built from each railroad’s web-based Train Time™ data feed, the apps make it easy to find out – with nothing more than the tap of a finger – when the next trains are due at your station, whether each one is running on time, and which track each one is slated to use.
“These apps are designed to be the definitive mobile go-to source for all the information someone would need in order to ride an LIRR or Metro-North train,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “We always say ‘Know Before You Go’ because it makes traveling with us a lot easier, and these apps put a trove of useful information right into your hands when you are on the move.”
LIRR Train Time™, which previously had existed as a pilot program on the Port Washington Branch and West Hempstead Branch, now serves all LIRR stations and branches. The data it contains is being made more accurate by combining real-time train positions available through the signal system with data from train-mounted GPS units and replicates information currently available to customers on the digital signs currently at all of LIRR’s 124 stations and terminals. Metro-North Railroad activated its Train Time™ data service at 67 stations in January 2010, and expanded it two months later to all 96 of the currently enabled stations.
The departure tracks are posted in the apps at the same time that they are posted at digital signs in stations, where available. Tracks are usually available more than an hour in advance at most stations. At Penn Station, where platforms are much busier than elsewhere and shared by three railroads, track listings are posted about 10 minutes prior to departure.
The apps also make it easy to find out fare information, see railroad maps, and learn about stations, including waiting room hours, parking availability, connecting transit services, status of accessibility for the disabled, elevator and escalator status, and phone numbers for area taxi companies. Each app also includes real-time service status, brief up-to-the-minute service alerts, railroad news items, info on special deals and getaway packages, and more detailed notices about service changes resulting from planned track work. And each app also includes information about connecting with the railroad via social media, email and 511.
“LIRR Train Time is part of our ongoing commitment to improve customer communication,” said LIRR President Helena E. Williams. “Delivering information directly to our customers’ smart phones is an important step forward in that effort.”
Willliams thanked members of the LIRR Commuter Council who were involved in testing the new app.
“We know how important real-time information is to our customers, and that’s why we’ve been making efforts to expand and improve upon the information we provide,” said Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut. “The Metro-North Train Time app builds upon our existing initiatives to expand information for customers, including the creation of Train Time via the web, bringing real-time digital screens to more stations and centralizing staff who create email and text alerts and audio announcements at our new Customer Communications Center.”
The two apps each have unique functions, but they share a similar overall design. The apps’ appearance was created with the help of Canvas, which had worked with Metro-North Railroad previously for an app entitled Grand Central, which combines information about where to eat, shop, and run errands within Grand Central with Metro-North track listings and departure times.
Those who do not have Android or iPhone smartphones, and those who do, can continue to get real-time train information through CooCoo, by sending a text message to 266266 with your origin and destination stations.
These new railroad apps complement the ever-expanding collection of existing apps that have been developed, with the encouragement of the MTA, over the past five years by third-party app developers to help railroad customers. These apps can be found at MTA.info under the App Gallery.
The two new apps bring to eight the number of apps that have been officially created or commissioned by the MTA itself. The prior MTA apps for iOS, Android or web are:
- Subway Time, which provides real-time train arrival estimates for all stations on the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 subway lines and 42nd Street Shuttle.
- Bus Time, which provides real-time bus locations on all routes in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, with expansion to Brooklyn and Queens coming in 2014.
- The Weekender, which lets New York City Subway customers visualize weekend service changes caused by subway track work.
- MTA Drive Time, which provides graphically animated views of current travel speeds and travel times on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, RFK Bridge, Queens-Midtown Tunnel, Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge, Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, Henry Hudson Bridge, Cross Bay Bridge and Marine Parkway Bridge.
- Meridian, which provides comprehensive information about the permanent artwork installed throughout the MTA system, including the ability to search by line or by artist, get turn-by-turn directions to the art, and see photos.
- Grand Central, which combines information about where to eat, shop, and run errands within Grand Central with Metro-North track listings and departure times.