Apps To Go For LIRR/Metro-North
New recently free apps provide quick, easy access to real-time train arrival information, maps, fare information, station details, service alerts and more for all stations and branches.
The MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) announced the creation of the first official apps for customers of Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road.
Known as Metro-North Train Time and LIRR Train Time, they are available now for Android and iPhone. The apps are free to download and free of ads. They come just in time for a busy weekend when customers will be taking to the rails for shopping and holiday events.
Built from each railroad’s web-based Train Time data feed, they make it easy to find out – with nothing more than the tap of a finger – when the next trains are due at each station, whether each one is running on time, and which track each one is slated to use.
“These apps are designed to be the definitive mobile go-to source for all the information someone would need in order to ride an LIRR or Metro-North train,” said MTA CEO and Chairman Thomas Prendergast.
LIRR Train Time, which previously existed as a pilot program on the Port Washington Branch and West Hempstead Branch, now serves all LIRR stations and branches. The data it contains is being made more accurate by combining real-time train positions available through the signal system with data from train-mounted GPS units and replicates information currently available to customers on the digital signs currently at all of LIRR’s 124 stations and terminals. Metro-North Railroad activated its Train Time™data service at 67 stations in January 2010, and expanded it two months later to all 96 of the currently enabled stations.
The departure tracks are posted in the apps at the same time that they are posted at digital signs in stations, where available. Tracks are usually available more than an hour in advance at most stations. At Penn Station, where platforms are much busier than elsewhere and shared by three railroads, track listings are posted about 10 minutes prior to departure.
The apps also make it easy to find out fare information, see railroad maps, and learn about stations, including waiting room hours, parking availability, connecting transit services, status of accessibility for the disabled, elevator and escalator status, and phone numbers for area taxi companies. Each app also includes real-time service status, brief up-to-the-minute service alerts, railroad news items, info on special deals and getaway packages, and more detailed notices about service changes resulting from planned track work. And each app also includes information about connecting with the railroad via social media, email and 511.
Both apps have unique functions, but they share a similar overall design. The apps’ appearance was created with the help of Canvas, which had worked with Metro-North Railroad previously for an app entitled Grand Central, which combines information about where to eat, shop, and run errands within Grand Central with Metro-North track listings and departure times.
Those who do not have Android or iPhone smartphones, and those who do, can continue to get real-time train information through CooCoo, by sending a text message to 266266 with your origin and destination stations.
These new railroad apps complement the ever-expanding collection of existing apps that have been developed, with the encouragement of the MTA, over the past five years by third-party app developers to help railroad customers.
The two new apps bring to eight the number of apps that have been officially created or commissioned by the MTA. These apps can be found at MTA.info under the App Gallery.