40 Comment

  • They’ve had these going at the bus stop across from my building on the S2/S9 line in Silver Spring for a couple weeks. Pretty neat.

  • OK, maybe I’m cynical this morning, but in 2015, they’re really still rolling out the Lite-Brite style displays? WMATA: where rolling out technology that has been obsolete for 20 years constitutes progress.

    • What’s wrong with the display? I think it serves it’s purpose wonderfully well. 20yo technology is perfectly fine for something like this – no need to waste our money on a super fancy OLED display.

    • What kind of display is needed? This kind of display is cheaper, uses less energy, and is more durable.

    • Spot on. This information is already readily available with a free smartphone app (which, not everyone has, so that is an actual benefit). The issue continues to be the accuracy of the tracking itself. Only 70% of the time is the data within 5 minutes of being correct. That’s dismal. No information is better than bad info. Metro should focus it’s resources on smart tech to track buses, not replicating info that’s already available.

      • Maybe it’s true that everyone in your social circle has a smart phone, but it’s not true that everyone has a smart phone.

      • I want something that’s going to work, not something flashy. This is long overdue. And I second that not everyone has a smart phone, or is tech savvy enough to use apps, and I for one, don’t like whipping out my iphone while I’m waiting for the bus, especially at night.

        • Right, that’s why I said the display’s benefit is that it gives information to non-smartphone users. So, if you’d read the comment, you’d know that we’re in agreement on this point.

          This issue I raise is that if the information it’s giving everyone is largely inaccurate, then it’s actually worse than no sign at all – for smartphone and for non-smartphone users. That’s my point.

          • To be fair to ag11, your first sentence isn’t very clear. I had to re-read it a couple of times to get that “so that is an actual benefit” was not some weird snark.

          • Maybe I just take good bus lines, but I find that the next bus apps are pretty reliable. Sometimes the buses take longer than it says, but that’s because of traffic, and I’m not sure what can be done about that.

  • justinbc

    I wonder if it’s just as inaccurate as the apps with its constant disappearing buses.

    • You’re using the wrong app.

      • I use “DC Metro and Bus” which I think is the best app that most people use. Unfortunately, buses even disappear from NextBus right on WMATA’s website periodically so I think that there will still be a disappearing bus problem.

        • I use what used to be NextBusDC (I think now it’s called iC DC Lite). They still don’t have the updated 30s routes (30N and 30S), but I’ve found them to be fairly accurate. I might live on more reliable lines, but I think I’ve only had a bus disappear two or three in a few years. The time will adjust, so if it says 6 mins, it might not actually be 6 minutes, but there’s no way to take into account a backup or a suddenly closed street.

          • Yes, there is a way. Google Maps has real-time traffic information. WMATA just doesn’t connect to the most reliable data.

          • I tried using Google Maps when I first moved to DC. The buses were never on time, they seemed to go off the paper schedule.

        • maxwell smart

          Is there an app that properly tracks the L2? The stop at Connecticut and M Street is the Bermuda Triangle for the L2 bus – I don’t know how many days I’ve waited 30 minutes for a bus that was “Arriving… 2 minutes… Arriving… 5 minutes… Arriving… Arriving… Departed… 2 minutes”

      • By wmata’s own measure, the tracking is dismal. (don’t have the report link handy but it’s online). If the info is bad, the format it’s delivered in is irrelevant.

      • Cinnamonster

        I really like Transit for bus tracking (it’s the one with the dark green app icon), but it took me awhile to get used to it – its default is to show you predictions for everything that is near you, so you have to do a tiny bit of legwork to make your preferred bus routes appear near the top. Pretty accurate by my own admittedly anecdotal account!

      • I use Bus Stop DC, which I like, but it doesn’t track Circulators. Does anyone know of an app that does both Metro Bus and Circulator and on which you can bookmark stops?

      • Uh, no. Try taking an H1 or L1 bus. About half the time, a bus will disappear.

  • WMATA, welcome to 2003…. better late than never!

  • There’s also one in front of the Post Office on Pennsylvania between 12th and 13th. It’s got a button you can push for audio, which is a pretty cool feature.

  • The SF Muni system has had these for years and they’re great. In my experience, and I visit SF about 2-3x/year, they’re as accurate as the mobile apps, for both good and ill. Muni uses the same system as Metro for its arrival info and SF has similar issues with disappearing buses, etc, so I think there may be system issues. I have noticed far fewer problems recently however.

  • There’s on at the Potomac Ave 30 bus station too but I honestly don’t really understand it. The M in front makes you kind of thing that the current information pertains to Metrorail? I guess because I use Metro and Bus as different word so I would expect a B for bus. And then, I thought the sign spent a lot of time on buses that were coming about 50/60 minutes away… when my app told me there were buses coming in 2, 5, and 7 minutes.
    So overall – still some kinks at Potomac Ave but I guess I like not having to pull my phone out at a crowded bus stop if I don’t have to (i.e. for theft prevention).

  • I saw one of these at 16th & U, and I was amazed at how many busses it scrolled through – everything through most of the hour? So it took a couple of minutes to actually find out when the *next* bus was coming, which I thought was the point. I guess it works better when the busses are more spaced out? I’ll keep using my app, but I like having this on hand as well.

    • +1. At the Petworth metro the other day I walked up to one of these at the “wrong” time and I had to stand there for at least 2-3 minutes before I found out when the actual next bus was coming. But while I was waiting I did find out when the first bus would be there the next day!

  • I can say this because I have used WMATA in every quadrant of the city at all times. This should have gone to SE first, where they have the most delays and buses that simply DO NOT show up. It’s like playing the number sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, no matter the day or weather. I have written several complaints including one this week when the bus driver didn’t even put on brakes at the bus stop instead sped up. At 9:00 am when it is 30 degrees, kind of sucks when you are trying to make it to work on time and that was the last bus for 53 minutes!

  • A couple of these are also up and running on both sides of Georgia outside the Petworth metro station. They seem to be working fine. My only small complaint is that they show too many future bus times: I find it useful to know that my bus will be here in 10 minutes and then another in 30, but not so useful to know that a third one is coming in 50.

  • Great. Now I know exactly how many minutes until the next full bus passes Euclid without stopping. Thanks!

  • I’m so glad to see this is finally being rolled out. It’s years and years behind the original schedule.

  • I use NEXBus. It’s pretty reliable. Sometimes scheduled busses don’t show up on the app, but I think that has more to do with the Metro department that logs the busses into the system than the app itself.

  • My stop in the morning is 16th & Euclid, and I appreciate it, but given the frequency of buses during the morning rush, I really hate having to wait for it to scroll through an hour’s worth of arrivals, which probably aren’t accurate. Whether the buses are running very frequently (say, during rush hour) or not so frequently (nights and weekends), why not just post the next four or five arrivals of every line serving that stop?

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