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MTA Bus Time Goes Live On Manhattan Routes

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Bus Time went live on 36 bus routes across Manhattan Monday, meaning riders will no longer need to wonder when the next bus will get to their stop. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

From the M1 to the M116 and almost every route in between, riders in Manhattan can now track pretty much any bus in the borough.

On Monday, the MTA extended its online bus tracking program, after it was already rolled out last year to every line in the Bronx and on Staten Island.

"We're always waiting for the bus, sometimes they don't even show up here. So I'm hoping that this will work out because we can get to work on time," said one Manhattan bus rider.

MTA Bus Time uses GPS hardware installed in its Manhattan fleet to let riders know how far away a bus is away from a certain stop. It's as easy as texting a bus stop code to 511123 or charting a line's progress on bustime.mta.info.

"Rather than have guesswork in when the bus will be coming, customers can look at any number of devices and get real-time information as to where their bus is and when their bus will be arriving," said MTA Director of Bus Technology Deployment Sean Fitzpatrick.

That's welcome news for riders who say they can't rely on schedules posted at bus stops.

"Every day I come to work and I miss the bus by a minute, and then you're stuck here waiting for nine, 10, sometimes 15 minutes. And it's just very unfortunate because it's hard to plan your schedule when you're not sure if you can rely on the bus times," said one Manhattan bus rider.

"If there's something where there's an app involved where we can track it, that would be very sensible. So we can be on time for our appointments or job," said another city bus rider.

Bus Time debuted in 2011 as a pilot project on Brooklyn's B63 and previously was available in Manhattan only on the M34 Select Bus Service line and on some express buses. Lines that run into Manhattan from Brooklyn and Queens can't be tracked just yet.

While cities like Chicago, Washington and Syracuse have had bus tracking technology in use for years, the MTA still has some catching up to do. The agency expects to have Bus Time arrive in Brooklyn and Queens sometime in the next six months.

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