Watching the wait: City debuts countdown clocks at Park Slope bus stops

Good time: Jaye Maynard was happily suprised to see a countdown clock installed at the Atlantic Avenue and Court Street bus stop, but she’ll be even happier when they turn it on.
Brooklyn Paper
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The time has arrived!

The city is installing countdown clocks that display estimated arrival times at 12 bus stops around Park Slope, providing straphangers with real-time information in order to better plan their commutes, according to the local pol who spearheaded the initiative.

“We are thrilled to welcome bus countdown clocks to Brooklyn,” said Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope). “Knowing when the next bus is coming is a real quality-of-life improvement for riders.”

Half of the clocks are already in place at some of the busiest stops in the nabe, including tickers for Downtown-bound and Kensington-bound buses at Seventh Avenue and Ninth Street, Downtown-bound buses at Columbia Street and Carroll Street, Bay Ridge-bound buses at Atlantic Avenue and Court Street, Kensington-bound buses at Fifth Avenue and Seventh Street, and Kensington-bound buses at Seventh Avenue and Flatbush Avenue.

And the city is in the process of installing clocks for Brooklyn Bridge Park- and Bay Ridge-bound buses at Fifth Avenue and Ninth Street, Downtown-bound buses at Seventh Avenue and Sixth Street, Bergen Beach- and Kings Plaza-bound buses at Flatbush Avenue and Grand Army Plaza, Bay Ridge-bound buses at Fifth Avenue and Dean Street, and Downtown-bound buses at Seventh Avenue and 11th Street.

Riders cheered the technology, despite the fact that some already in place clocks were not fully functional by midday Tuesday.

“I think it’s a great idea — at least when they’re up and running,” said Park Slope resident Jaye Maynard, who was waiting for a bus at Atlantic Avenue and Court Street.

Lander also set aside money to bring more than a dozen additional clocks to stops in Windsor Terrace and Kensington, which should arrive sometime next year, according to his spokeswoman.

The councilman committed funding to the project in 2014, before Mayor DeBlasio announced a plan to install 350 clocks city-wide in 2016. Each monitor costs taxpayers a whopping $35,000.

But the hundreds of incoming timers will serve only a fraction of the New York City’s 15,000 bus stops, according to the legislator, who said he is also pushing for arrival times to be displayed on 7,500 public wi-fi kiosks that LinkNYC is rolling out across the city at no cost to taxpayers.

“It’s great to install 350 bus clocks across the city, but there are more than 15,000 stops,” Lander said. “Meanwhile, LinkNYC is expanding at a rapid pace. Let’s use them to make life a little easier for NYC’s bus riders.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:54 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Michael from Brooklyn says:
Why isn't this at every bus stop, and why Park Slope first? Bill De Blasion was willing to spend hundreds of millions to buy land to build a useless park in Williamsburg. This is much more useful. It's embarassing that it has taken so long to have anything like this up, but even worse how few places will get them.
Sept. 27, 2017, 5:49 am
cheap guy says:
Anyone with a phone that has text messaging, which is like pretty much everybody, can get real-time bus arrival data on their phones. How does it make sense to spend 350 X $35,000 = $1,225,000 to provide people with information that they already have?
Sept. 27, 2017, 7:46 am
LJ from Park Slope says:
The reason it's in Park Slope is that our city councilman, Brad Lander, has been pushing for these clocks for years. They were items in Participatory Budgeting elections for years, but I don't think they ever passed. Still, enough people voted for them that Lander got funding for them. This has nothing to do with the mayor's office.
Sept. 27, 2017, 9:26 am
LJ from Park Slope says:
As for the comment about the phone, I actually made that point the first time this came up in a Participatory Budgeting election. Several people pointed out that many, many people don't have smartphones. Poor and (particularly) elderly people are far less likely to have smartphones, but are MORE likely to ride the buses.
Sept. 27, 2017, 9:30 am
cheap guy says:
Riders need a smart phone to use the Bus Time app, LJ, but any phone with text messaging will provide arrival data as long as you have the Stop Code. I rarely use the app.
Sept. 27, 2017, 11:23 am
Homey from Crooklyn says:
It's just an expensive digital toy....
does NOTHING to improve service, the wait time
will be the same regardless
Sept. 27, 2017, 1:54 pm
LJ from Park Slope says:
Have you looked at how many elderly people ride the buses? Do you think they can use a phone to do this? I'm almost 60, and it's easy for me. Not so easy for my 90 year old mother in law. Far more elderly people ride the buses than any other kinds of transportation. During the work day, when kids are already in school, they make up the bulk of the ridership. And this was popular. As I said, this always got a lot of votes in the Participatory Budgeting elections in this council district. People wanted this here!
Sept. 27, 2017, 2:22 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
The money the MTA used for those countdown clocks at the bus stop could have been used to improve the efficiency of the buses instead.
Sept. 27, 2017, 2:26 pm
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from Bed-Stuy says:
Millions of Dollars in our own taxpayer money put in good use for the technology disadvantaged, but a waste of critical dollars for the rest of us tech savvy NYers.
Sept. 27, 2017, 3:04 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Plenty of elderly bus riders have no cell phone, some by choice, some not. The countdown clocks are an effiecent use of MTA funds, IMO.

Posted from my iPhone
Sept. 27, 2017, 4:09 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Sept. 27, 2017, 4:09 pm
cheap guy says:
I stand corrected. My 88-year-old mother is apparently more advanced than the average Brooklyn oldster.
Sept. 28, 2017, 9:18 am
Ugh says:
No one would need these clocks if the damned buses could run on time. They're ALWAYS late!
Sept. 28, 2017, 12:17 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
$35,000 to watch the bus be late.
De Blasio is a genius.
Sept. 28, 2017, 11:10 pm

Comments closed.

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