July 27, 2012
MTA's Revolutionary Bus Time Initiative Hits One Million Text Requests
In January 2012, MTA launched MTA Bus Time first on Staten Island. MTA was not aware that the initiative, a mobile service that provides customers with real-time information on the nearest bus, will receive such an affirmative response. The MTA's revolutionary Bus Time initiative has just passed a major milestone by hitting one million text messages requests from users. Since its launch, riders have sent one million text messages requesting transit info. When commuters text a bus stop code or intersection to 511-123, they instantly receive a text back stating how far away the next bus is.
In a press release, MTA chairman Joseph J. Lhota, said, “We are delighted by the rapid growth of the use of Bus Time. This is a service that can really make it much easier to ride the bus, so it's not a surprise that it's proven to be so popular.”
Mobile Commons, a Brooklyn-based software and mobile strategy company, is assisting MTA to respond information seekers. When riders raise query, Mobile Commons’ software queries the MTA's GPS system to find out how far away the next bus is. This information is returned by text to the rider within seconds. Till date, more than 33,000 people have used the text messaging component of the service, an average of 37 times per user; that's almost a quarter of Staten Island bus riders. Users are texting in on average eight times per week, and 7,500 people text in every week.
Jed Alpert, CEO and co-founder of Mobile Commons, said, “The MTA is streamlining commuting by connecting riders with timely transit information when they need it – on the device they use most, their mobile phone. The million-text milestone shows just how useful Bus Time has been, and how commuters have adopted it into their lives. We look forward to many more milestones as the program expands across the city.”
Mobile Commons was recently in news when Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing joined hands with Mobile Commons to provide young adult readers and fans an exciting new mobile program. Simon & Schuster will introduce the program for fans of young adult literature at Comic-Con in San Diego.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman
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