My New Favourite App Is Changing The Way I Think About Public Transportation In New York City

If you’ve ever taken a New York City public bus, you know it can be an anxious experience. When’s the bus coming? Did I just miss it? How many stops until mine?

Add to this the relative complexity of the city’s bus routes (I’m looking at you, outer boroughs) and it often becomes easier to avoid the bus entirely.

I know that was the case for me, at least, but that’s changing as of today thanks to one incredibly well-done app. Don’t be fooled by the narrow-sounding name — Bus New York City is the most fully-featured transit app for this place that I’ve ever used. It puts together subway, rail, bus, and bridge & tunnel statuses, providing handy maps for navigating each.

But it’s the bus portion of the app that’s really captured my attention. The app takes the MTA’s intimidating, congested bus map and turns it into a gorgeous, user-friendly utility with access to timetables for all bus lines and real-time GPS location data for most.

It has changed the way I interact with the city after using it just one day. It seems like the subway gets all the credit for moving New Yorkers around, so let’s take a look at how easy it can be to take the bus instead. Bus New York City costs $US2.99 in the App Store.

Tap the icon to start the app

The home screen discusses app updates and the like, but we're here for bus maps.

For comparison's sake, here's a small selection of the official MTA bus map for Brooklyn. Thankfully Bus NYC takes a much more user-friendly approach.

All stops are pinpointed on a map and we can touch one to get more info.

The app tells you which bus lines run at each stop, and if you tap the 'i' button... can get real-time arrivals on most bus lines. No more gambling on a 20 minute wait if you just miss the bus.

Zooming out shows the all the stops on the line, and the buses currently in action on that line are called out with a red icon.

You can even get details on the individual buses.

There's a browsable listing of bus lines -- those in green have real-time location data, the others show timetable data.

Let's see what else they've got.

A complete set of bus maps and subway map...

... always handy.

Even current statuses for subway lines, buses, and more.

I know for a fact that I'll be taking the bus a lot more often now.

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