Tracking The \'T\'
Special Report: Tracking The 'T'
Adam Jasie, Commuter
"I missed the last one to Braintree."
Or you're waiting at the bus stop, but you don't know when the next bus will show up.
Jaclyn Nazzaro, Commuter
"You have to time things right. The schedules are complicated."
Taking the T is definitely a bargain, but sometimes the timing can be trouble.
Michelle Tolson, Commuter
"I had to actually get a ride into the city today because my train came before I expected it."
But now there's help for riders in a rush. There's an app for that.
Henry Tomasuolo, Commuter
"It would be really helpful to know approximately how far away the next train is and how long the wait is."
In fact, there are several apps for iPhones that promise a real time look at exactly how T trains and buses are running and when the next one will pull up where you are.
We decided to give some of them a test run.
The "Catch The T" app tells you how many minutes away the next few subway trains are from your stop and it gives you specific arrival times. You just click whatever line you want to view.
Michelle Tolson, Commuter
"I'm gonna take the train to Braintree, so it's gonna come in 7 minutes."
We tried out the app more than a dozen times, at three different t stations, and found almost every time the info was very accurate.
We also opened up "Open MBTA." This app is the only one specifically available for your iPad too. It includes info for both the subway and the bus.
You'll be able to see the exact arrival time for the next few trains or buses heading your way and scheduled times for later ones.
This app worked well for the subways, but we had some trouble with the bus info. One time the app told us our bus would be there in a few minutes, but it had actually gone by five minutes earlier.
We also gave "Excursion Boston" a spin. Like the other apps, it tells you how many minutes you'll have to wait for the next few buses or trains.
Amber Gerace, Commuter
"I hate waiting, it's a pain."
We tried the app more than a dozen times and found its arrival times were often a few minutes earlier than the real thing.
Right now, the green line is the only line not available on these apps. The MBTA says they won't have green line info in real time for at least a year. But they do hope to roll out commuter rail and ferry boat data by the spring.
If you travel only by bus, you may want to try "Catch The Bus." You pick the stop and direction you want and the app tells you how many minutes you'll wait, when the bus will arrive, and the bus number too.
When we tested it, the app gave info that was a little ahead of schedule. But it does have a sense of humor.
The app "Where's My MBTA Bus?" answers that important question with a map.
Jeff Forward, Commuter
"I think it would help me immensely. I wouldn't miss the bus anymore."
The apps update automatically. But we found this one took a long time, so it's a good idea to keep refreshing this app manually. But it was right about arrival time each time we used it.
All the apps we tried cost $.99, except "Open MBTA," which is free.
So for less than what you'd spend on a cup of coffee you could hold the secrets to an easier commute right in your hand.
For more information about the apps we tried, and a list of more, including ones for android phones, check out: MBTA Apps Showcase
(Copyright (c) 2010 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)