New York MTA Hops on the iPhone App Train

The New York MTA has officially hopped on the iPhone app train. Yes, through theĀ  MTA Subway Time app, iPhone users can easily gain access to real-time details about subway arrival times for the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 lines, as well as the 42nd Street shuttle. All told, 156 stations throughout the city are covered.

Seven of the city’s 24 lines have equipment installed which allows them to link to a centralized computer, which in turn provides a real-time countdown clock for each of the covered stops. This will allow subway riders to quickly see how long they have to wait, and if there’s a delay, that will be factored in because of the real-time nature of the app.

As it stands now, six stations within the division have cell phone and Wi-Fi service that is operational. Everywhere else, users will have to check before they go below ground, at which point they can consult countdown clocks at each platform within the “A” division.

This will be the case until 2016, when a separate project which brings cell phone service to all the platforms is due to be finished.

Plans are in place to upgrade the entire MTA system, but given that it’s so old, and given the financial realities of the project, there are naturally some delays. For example, the “L” line is expected to be added within a year. The 7 line isn’t due to be added until 2016.

User reviews on the app’s iTunes page have been less than stellar. “Words cannot begin to describe the lack of care or effort that went into the UI/UX aspects of this app. Not being Retina(not even for the home screen) or iPhone 5 screen ready is also a disgrace,” a user identified as Chun-Wei Chen wrote.

A user who goes by the name “kingmarkunlimited” simply wrote, “Come on guys, hire some talent and get it right the first time.” Another review complained about speed, or an apparent lack thereof.

Although the reviews may not exactly be glowing, it’s important to note that even the most epic apps got off to a rocky start. The MTA has a valuable concept here, and just like its subway system needs to be upgraded, some patience will be needed to allow them to find their way.

If you find yourself in New York, try this app, and let us know what you think in the comments section.
The app is available free of charge in the iTunes Store.

[via: Wall Street Journal]