In an attempt to increase bus ridership, several cities are employing GPS and mobile technology to let riders track where buses currently are. The New York MTA is the latest to do so with its Bus Time program, which officially came online in January, according to Metro Focus.
Under the program, riders at a bus stop can send a text or scan a code to find out how many stops away the bus is. The MTA began testing the program in 2010, starting with a pair of bus lines in Manhattan; Staten Island became the first borough with every bus connected in January, marking the official start of the program.
Initial statistics show that 10 percent of Staten Island bus riders were using Bus Time by March; MTA plans to have every bus in the city equipped with the program by the end of 2013.
Other cities that have employed similar systems include Chicago, Portland and San Francisco. While it is difficult to determine the impact of time-tracking techniques on bus ridership, each of these cities has seen modest increases in ridership since implementing these programs.