stand clear of the closing doors

Nine Questions You Will Never Ask Again Thanks to the MTA’s New Subway Arrival App

A woman showing a message on a smartphone to a friend.
“Look hun, if we leave now we can still make the dungeon orgy.” Photo: George Clerk/iStockphoto

Out of all the apps available to help you navigate the subway — map apps, direction apps, apps that tell you where to sit for optimal station-exiting efficiency — the most basic question of all has remained unanswered: How many more minutes until the next train? No longer! In a press conference today, the MTA announced a new (and, for now, Apple-only) app called MTA Subway Time, which not only informs you of the next train’s arrival time, but the train after that and the train after that. For now, it’s only available for the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 lines and the 42nd Street shuttle. It will be rolled out across the other lines over the next three years, which kind of sucks. Still, though: It’s exciting that, starting now, at least in certain situations, we’ll never have to ask ourselves the following questions ever again:

  • Should I shell out for a cab, or will the subway take basically the same amount of time?
  • If I don’t run for the subway right now, am I going to miss my meeting/movie/wedding?
  • Do I need to jog?
  • Jog, but only if no one is looking?
  • How many more minutes of [sporting event/TV show/movie that you’ve seen 40 times but you want to watch as much as possible of anyway] can I watch before I have to start walking to the subway?
  • Do I have time to eat this pizza at a table, or do I need to carry it into the subway and hopefully scarf it down on the platform like a slob before the train comes?
  • Is continuing this conversation with this acquaintance I just ran into outside the subway and don’t even really like going to cost me a train?
  • If I rob this bank right now, and then run into the subway, will I just be waiting on the platform like an idiot while the cops come looking for me, or will I be able to make a smooth getaway and live the rest of my life under an assumed name in Curacao?
  • Do I have time to go to the bathroom, or should I just hold it?

MTA Introduces New Subway Arrival App