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MTA Bus Time Expanding to Brooklyn, Queens Routes

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TWC News: MTA Bus Time Expanding to Brooklyn, Queens Routes
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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Monday announced that its live-tracking system, known as Bus Time, will be expanded to include more than 100 routes in Brooklyn and Queens early next month. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

The next and last stops for Bus Time are Brooklyn and Queens.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's online tracking program is set to debut there on March 9, expanding citywide to all 5,500 city buses and 15,000 bus stops.

"It's good news for us," said one commuter. "It's going to help us a lot to know when the bus is coming."

Using GPS hardware installed in its fleet, Bus Time lets riders track how many stops away the next bus is. All it takes is texting a bus code to 511-123 or charting a bus's movements on the MTA web site.

Queens riders say that its arrival at more than 100 lines in the borough is long overdue.

"It eliminates the time being on certain streets, because a lot of the streets are dark, you can't really see anything, you don't know who's coming up behind you," said one person.

"I can stay extra long in my house waiting for the bus," said another.

It also reduces the reliance on schedules that riders say aren't trustworthy.

"It's good because the bus schedules, as we know, really don't, they don't stick by the schedules, so it would work," said one commuter.

"I just look at the map on the pole over there, and it just tells you what time the bus is going to be there," said another. "Sometimes it's accurate, sometimes it's not."

Like the countdown clocks on the numbered subway lines, the MTA says that Bus Time has been a well-received customer service move by an agency many New Yorkers love to hate, even if other cities in the U.S. and Canada have been relying on similar technology for years.

"Incredibly positive feedback in terms of customer feedback that we've gotten over the past couple of months," said MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz.

Bus Time actually made its debut in Brooklyn in 2011 as part of a pilot program on the B63. Now, it's coming to more than 50 lines in that borough.

In 2012, Staten Island was first to get Bus Time borough-wide.

"It was the easiest borough to do, and then consequently, the same following with the Bronx and Manhattan," Ortiz said. "It was just an issue of functionality."

Now, riders in two more boroughs - the final two - will get to see it work.

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