'App Breakthrough' Benefits NYC Straphangers

Friday marked a milestone in the effort to bridge the gap between NYC's century-old subway system and emerging technologies; "a leap forward for a service that has lagged behind its peers both at home and abroad in adopting new technologies."
December 29, 2012, 1pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Ted Mann reports on the release last week of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Subway Time app for passengers with iPhones and iPod Touch devices. The app, which provides minutes-to-arrival times for trains on seven lines, "will allow at least some riders to plan their commute by the minute for the first time in the system's 108-year history," says Mann.

"For the subway system's 5.5 million daily riders, however, the launch of the new app also lays bare the ways aging infrastructure and a slow pace of investment have left the transit network far behind contemporaries in other cities. The new app covers only about a third of the subway system, and agency officials acknowledged that it will likely take years of work and hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment before conveniences increasingly common elsewhere are standard in the Big Apple."

"'I think the proliferation of transit apps is one of the most exciting things to happen to this industry,' said Michael Melaniphy, president of the American Public Transportation Association. He hoped the software would 'demystify' the process of navigating train and bus systems for rookie riders."

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Published on Friday, December 28, 2012 in The Wall Street Journal
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