Public Transportation Part 2: The Buses Strike Back!

One of the reasons that the “new” ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft are so disruptive is that they provide is information that didn’t exist before. With “traditional” services you would stand on a corner and hope to flag down a passing taxi or call up a cab company hope that their 15 minute promise will be honored. The new apps show you exactly where your ride is at every moment. There’s no uncertainty and no endless waiting for a cab that never comes. Is there any question that riders prefer precise, on-time service over aimless waiting?

The New York Buss App. Every stop is marked in blue, buses on the route in red. Credit: Business Insider

The New York Bus App. Every stop is marked in blue, buses on the route in red. Credit: Business Insider

New York’s MTA has realized that and has started to provide real-time bus location information for Brooklyn Bus Lines. With the app riders can know exactly when their bus is coming thus reducing wait times and frustrations. Beautiful.

I’d love to see this expanding to every bus line in every city and other forms of public transportation. That could make public transportation a much more reliable option.

Predict how long your ride should take given a specific end-station. Right now you can select your station to see how far away the next bus is. Why not select your end station and, based on current traffic reports, provide a projected arrival time?

Great move, MTA. Keep up the good work.

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