New York MTA launches subway app with real-time train arrival info (for some lines)

new york mta launches subway app with real time train arrival infoNew Yorkers can now plan their subway journeys in a way that’ll allow them to minimize the amount of time they spend on the platform, so on a sweltering hot summer day they’ll be able to make their way from air-conditioned coffee shop to air-conditioned subway car without breaking a sweat – in theory, at least.

It’s been made possible by the Mass Transit Authority’s launch of its new (beta) Subway Time app for iOS devices that enables users to see the minute-by-minute arrival times of trains before heading into the subterranean depths of the sprawling network.

MTA chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota spoke of the new app in somewhat grandiose terms, despite the fact that it currently only covers lines 1 through 6 (as well as the S 42nd Street Shuttle) – that means information is only available for 156 of the network’s 468 stations.

“Today is the day that generations of dreamers and futurists have waited for. The ability to get subway arrival time at street level is here.” Lhota said in a release 0ver the weekend.

He continued, “The days of rushing to a subway station only to find yourself waiting motionless in a state of uncertainty are coming to an end. Now, you can know from the comfort of your home or office whether to hasten to the station, or grab a cup of coffee as part of a leisurely walk.”

The MTA said it is providing a free live stream of all arrival-time data to third-party developers “who can develop innovative ways of using that information to better serve customers on a variety of devices,” so expect an Android version before too long.

In fact, looking at its clunky interface (it’s not even optimized for the iPhone 5’s display so has black bars top and bottom) and lack of station coverage, it’s pretty obvious the MTA just wanted to launch something, anything, to get the word out about the free live stream data, encouraging other developers to put in the graft and come up with something altogether more pleasing to use.

2.5 stars

At the time of writing, the app has an average 2.5-star rating in the app store. “Come on guys, hire some talent and get it right first time,” writes one user in the review section.

“Laughable. Worst app design/usability experience you’ll probably ever see,” says another.

Among the mostly one- and two-star reviews, there were a few users looking at the offering a little more positively. “This app has a ton of potential,” said one reviewer who gave it a generous five stars. “Very good introductory release. Also nice to see the MTA working on something innovative.”

Used Subway Time? What do you make of it?

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix in October, from 'Mindhunter’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

GPS units aren't dead! Our favorite models still do things your phone can't

Love hitting the open road but hate having to rely solely on your phone for getting around? Thankfully, the best in-car GPS systems will allow you to navigate and capitalize on a range of features sans your cellular network. Here are our…

Updating to Apple’s iOS 12 will make your iPhone a whole lot smarter

iOS 12, the latest version of Apple’s iOS, is officially here. We took it for a spin to check out its new noteworthy features, and if it truly changes our smartphone habits for the better.

Pocket transforms articles into podcasts with an assist from Amazon

Read-it-later app Pocket is adding an option to turn articles into easily navigable podcasts with its new app redesign for iOS and Android. The feature relies on Amazon's voice-to-text service Polly.

Save up to $1,000 with the best smartphone deals for October 2018

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $1,000.

Preapproval for iPhone Upgrade Program now available for iPhone XR

Apple took the wraps off of its new set of iPhones, including the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and the new iPhone XR. The iPhone XR is being offered as the "affordable" iPhone, and it's a little different than the more expensive models.

Put your iPad Pro to the test with these great games

Did you recently purchase a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, or are you enjoying the 12.9-inch version? If so, we've rounded up a few of the best iPad Pro games currently available on Apple's mobile platform.

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

If you weren't already aware, USB-C is quickly becoming mainstream. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone.

How to protect your iCloud account

From Chinese hacking to identity theft, it's not surprising if you're a little worried about your iCloud data. Here's how to protect your iCloud account with a few simple security steps. It will only take a few minutes, and we'll walk you…

Upcoming iPad may lose a few millimeters, along with its headphone jack

The new iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and Apple Watch aren't the last devices we'll see from Apple in 2018. There are plenty of rumors about a new iPad coming this year too, and it may share some design similarities with the new phones.

Which is best: The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme or the 15-inch MacBook Pro?

To try and help nail down the best 15-inch laptops in the world, we compared the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme vs. MacBook Pro 15 in a head to head that looked at their power, design, and portability.

Google Pixel 3 vs. Apple iPhone XS: Does Google’s A.I. take down Apple?

The Google Pixel 3 is here, boasting top-tier specs like a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and 4GB of RAM, and some of the world's best artificial intelligence features on a phone. But can it take out the Apple iPhone XS?

Hinge's new feature wants to know who you've gone out on dates with

With its new "We Met" feature, Hinge wants to learn how your dates are going with matches in its app. That way, it can inject the information into its algorithm to provide future recommendations that better suit its users' preferences.