Friday, Aug 22, 2014 01:54 am est

MTA’s Bus Time program arrives in Manhattan

Posted on October 10, 2013 | by Ann Schmidt


The Metropolitan Transit Authority expanded its Bus Time program to Manhattan on Oct. 7, informing commuters about bus schedules depending on their borough and taking the stress and uncertainty of waiting for a bus out of the equation.

The program, which is also available in the Bronx and Staten Island, is expected to expand to Brooklyn and Queens by April 2014, according to the MTA. Bus Time is available through three mediums — users can request information through text messages to the Bus Time number, check the Bus Time website or scan quick response codes posted at each bus stop with a smartphone. The variety of options opens the door for anyone to receive information, regardless of whether they have a smartphone or not.

“The goal is to make [Bus Time] useable for all customers,” MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said. “It makes waiting for the bus easier and helps reduce or eliminate the need to spend a lot of time waiting for the bus.”

Sarah Kaufman, a research assistant at the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation and a previous employee of the MTA, said the trouble with Bus Time is the “digital divide,” or the split between those who have cell phones and those who have smartphones.

“While it’s fair to say that most bus riders have cell phones and can use this system, some people may not wish to incur the data costs of the text messages or the web lookup from their cell phone carriers,” Kaufman said.

However, the alternative to Bus Time would have been countdown clocks, similar to those in the subway system.

“[Countdown clocks] would cost millions of dollars to deploy at the city’s 14,000 bus stops,” Kaufman said. “That cost would be reflected in the fare box, so riders are better with opt-in information systems.”

Although this convenience is new in Manhattan, Kaufman said she is not convinced the program will affect the number of people who ride the bus.

“The buses in Manhattan may not see the ridership increase as on Staten Island because the buses in Manhattan are some of the slowest in the country, due to traffic congestion,” she said.

Dehidanin Cuevas, a Steinhardt junior and Queens resident, said she will use Bus Time when it expands to Queens.

“I think [Bus Time] will be a wonderful tool considering Queens is large,” Cuevas said. “And the bus transit system can be very confusing.”

For many commuters, the app will allow them to follow a clear schedule.

“[Bus Time will] take the wondering out of waiting,” Donovan said.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Oct. 10 print edition. Ann Schmidt is a contributing writer. Email her at 


profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.