Dude, Where’s My Bus?

13 Dec

Riding the bus just got a whole lot easier. Thanks to MyBus Now, new technology rolled out by NJ Transit today, bus riders can check their phones and see, in real time, exactly when the next bus will arrive. Now you’ll know if you missed your bus and should go wait inside until the next one comes, or if you have time to run over to the coffee shop down the block for a cup of joe. If it’s raining or freezing outside, you won’t have to stand outside in the elements; you can wait inside somewhere until right before the bus actually shows up.  No more waiting and wondering in the dark, the plight of the long-suffering bus commuter. For bus stops where there are long gaps between each bus, this technology could make all the difference.

The service is available right now on a test basis for riders using 16 bus routes in parts of Mercer, Somerset, and Middlesex counties, but the program is expected to be expanded to the entire state, in all of the more than 19,000 bus stops, by early spring. The 16 bus routes currently served by the program are:

  • No. 600 Trenton-Plainsboro (U.S. 1 Corridor)
  • No. 601 The College of New Jersey-Trenton-Hamilton Marketplace
  • No. 602 Pennington-Trenton
  • No. 603 Mercer Mall-Hamilton Square-Yardville-Hamilton Marketplace
  • No. 604 East Trenton-Trenton Transit Center
  • No. 605 Montgomery Township-Princeton-Quaker Bridge Mall
  • No. 606 Princeton-Mercerville-Hamilton Marketplace
  • No. 607 Ewing-Trenton-Independence Plaza
  • No. 608 Hamilton-West Trenton
  • No. 609 Ewing-Quaker Bridge Mall
  • No. 610 Trenton-Princeton Seasonal Service
  • No. 611 Trenton-River View Plaza Circulator
  • No. 612 Lawrence-West Windsor
  • No. 613 Mercer Mall-Hamilton Square-Yardville-Hamilton Marketplace
  • No. 619 Ewing-Quaker Bridge Mall-Mercer County College
  • No. 655 Princeton-Plainsboro

Riders can type in the bus stop number — listed on a sign at the bus stop, or found online here — or their bus route number and location. Using GPS and some of its own technology on board, the bus transmits back to a central system that does calculations for how long it should take a bus to get to a particular stop. Riders will see all of the buses that are within 30 minutes of that stop. New buses already are equipped for the technology, and NJ Transit is retrofitting its older buses. The agency has more than 2,000 buses in its fleet, operating on more than 200 routes.

So, do you want to know when your bus is coming? Here’s how:

From a desktop computer:  Visit mybusnow.njtransit.com.  Select either “bus times” or “bus map.”

  • Bus Times:  Enter your five-digit bus stop ID or select your bus route, direction of travel and bus stop from the drop-down menus.
  • Bus Map:  Click “Routes” and select up to 10 routes, or click “Find Stop” and follow the directions in the dialog box to view the real-time location of buses on a Google map.  Buses are represented by bus icons that display an arrow to indicate the direction of travel.  Hover over the bus icon to display the estimated arrival times for the next four bus stops.  Click the bus icon for additional options, including links to “route schedule” (PDF of the bus timetable) and “route progress” (a timeline of the bus trip by stop).

From a web-enabled smartphone:  Visit njtransit.com and select MyBus Now to view a streamlined version of the web page.  Select your bus route from the list or enter your five-digit bus stop ID.

 From a cell phone with SMS-text messaging:  Text your five-digit bus stop ID to MyBus (69287).  Instead of returning the next scheduled trips, MyBus Nowwill provide real-time information for routes in the pilot program.  For all other routes, MyBus will continue to provide information for scheduled trips.

 

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