Smartphoneless bus riders at Forest Hills no longer have to guess when their bus is showing up

Forest Hills bus timer

The new bus countdown signboard. Photo by MBTA.

Around 1 p.m., the MBTA turned on a new electronic signboard at Forest Hills to alert bus riders when their bus is due at the station.

In a statement, T General Manager Beverly Scott says:

I've often said our buses are the work horses of our system, serving more than 375,000 people on a typical weekday. The countdown signs at our busiest bus stops will provide customers with information that will make their public transit experience easier and more convenient.

The T reports Dudley - the T's busiest bus station - will get a countdown clock this spring, followed by Ruggles sometime this summer (replacing an old Orange Line countdown signboard).

Eight more signs will also be installed this summer, tentatively at Harvard, Haymarket, Ashmont, Kenmore, Maverick, Wonderland, Jackson Square and Central Square.



Free tagging: 


Maybe the kinks still have to be worked out, but...

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...I was there around 12:45 and it had some inaccuracies - a 35 that was due to go out at 12:55 wasn't even on the board (the bus itself came in around 10 to 1 and left just about on time), and it showed the next 51 was more than 90 minutes away (next scheduled departure was 1:15).

When I checked ....

... a couple of days ago -- none of the numbers on the board at Forest hills matched the times shown by NextBus (they were off by quite a bit). As far as I could tell (in the 15 minutes until my bus came), NextBus was right -- and the new board was wrong.


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This is why I don't waste my time with any of the apps (except fro T Times for the train arrivals since NextBus's website does not have them!)...

NextBus provides the back end for the T to provide real time tracking AND they've been doing real time tracking since 1998, so it makes sense that the most accurate data would come from them.

NextBus is 99.999% accurate


BostonBusMap can show you where every bus is, and by tapping on it, a little pop up shows you the bus number, routing, and how long ago it was in the spot (usually updating every <60 seconds). Simply the best thing I've used.

Urb, I have that

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But its TOO much just to get a quick time. I don't care about map, just tell me how long am I going to wait in text.

The flatscreen at Chinatown

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The flatscreen at Chinatown northbound, which shows the train driver 4 CCTV images of the platform, doesn't update in real time. It still showed a train with its doors open as our train was leaving the station.

If the T can't get a safety-critical screen to show correct information in real time, what hope is there for bus arrival info as a passenger convenience?

Meanwhile, London has had bus countdown screens at every busy streetside bus shelter for about 20 years. And they work.

How long...

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...before it's a smashed and twisted pile of wreckage? How convenient for them to put it within reach of vandals.


These days I'd be more worried about one of these many T pervs strumming his banjo on that thing.

Back Bay Station

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Yes - and whatever happened to the similar board in front of the turnstiles at Back Bay Station? Was that vandalism or did it just die? I wish they'd either fix it or get rid of the wreckage...

If its like...

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The one at Backbay, its behind a steel encased door with very thick Plexiglas. It's durable enough to withstand most vandals.

Ruggles had one already!!!

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I used that sucker all the time, but it was according to the Pre-determined MBTA schedule. It got to the point that was plugged out because all the times were wrong. Who I'm not sure

Oh joy! Now when hundreds of

Oh joy! Now when hundreds of us are exiting the fare doors after coming up from the escalators, we can anticipate colliding with a crowd of people standing around this thing. The only saving grace is that it'll probably be smashed to bits sometime over the weekend.


Friday night rush hour -- correct info at Forest Hills -- finally . ;~}