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.

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Comments

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.

NextBus

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

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.

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The flatscreen at Chinatown

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.

Back Bay Station

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...