Back in November, we showcased Miami-Dade Transit’s new “Train Tracker” program, which is supposed to allow Metrorail riders to easily locate trains and know exactly when they are projected to arrive at your departing station.
We want to know if you’ve used it, and how effective/accurate it has been thus far. Has it made your commute any smoother or more predictable? Has it made it more likely that you’ll use Metrorail? As always, your thoughts and opinions are much appreciated.
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Related posts:

  1. MDT Introduces Train Tracker for Metrorail
  2. Miami-Dade’s Train Tracker Service Garners Award
  3. What GPS Tracking for Buses Could Look Like
  4. The Burning Train
  5. Transit User Profile: Richard Halluk
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17 Responses to Has Metrorail’s Train Tracker Affected Your Commute?

  1. Anonymous says:

    What train tracker?

  2. Ryan Sharp says:

    Click on the blue link that says “Train tracker” and it will take you to the web page.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sarcasm Ryan

  4. willie says:

    I’ve never used it. Don’t really see the need for it since there is only really one route. It doesn’t help me plan my route, day, etc.

    We really need GPS for buses at major stations to tell us when the next bus will arrive.

  5. franklin says:

    I second GPS for the buses. I know that the train will eventually come (it IS on tracks). And the train stations are nice and sheltered from autos and the sun. Who wants to wait 10 to 45 minutes under the sun on a six lane road?

    The little meter that says when the next train will arrive at Government Center would be useful if it worked. Since I noticed it yesterday, it hasn’t had the correct time or any train arrival times. If I knew that I only had 15 seconds until my train arrived, I could certainly run quickly up the escalators and make it.

    The meter would also be nice because you can read it before you have paid to board the train. If you have 27 minutes until the next train, then you could get food and come back (assuming any food places were open during the hours when the metro is running every 30 minutes).

  6. Duran says:

    Actually, funny thing is I use it all the time on my Blackberry. And yes, its useful, lets me know if I need to haul-ass or I can walk slowly. Also just know how long I have to wait is good. But it would be nice if the entire transportation system, Metrorail, Metromover and bus system was GPS monitored with electronic board at each stop (or at least major stops for buses) letting you know estimated wait times.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I also use it RELIGIOUSLY on my Crackberry ever since it came out. I have never had to wait more than 2 mins for a train since the site went online. And if they ever dare to take it down I will bitch like there’s no tomorrow to some poor sap in the cust service dept of MDT. I usually get on at Brickell and off at Civic Center though so I know when the train is coming quite a ways off. I doubt it’s as useful for someone leaving from Dadeland South where the train leave whenever it leaves (no advanced warning).

    I even know when to leave my home/work on bike because I have it timed down to about 30 seconds how long it takes me to get to the platform (I don’t like wasting time sitting at platforms). You may call me obsessive, fine, but I like knowing if I will make the train or not before I bother leaving home/work so I don’t get there just missing the last one, man I hate that. I doubt MDT can make one so easily for buses. Traffic lights and traffic are so unpredictable it makes it almost impossible to know when the bus gets to the exact stop your at. Good think I both live and work within walking/biking distance of a station, I never have to take a bus.

  8. Li'l Pony says:

    I don’t use Train Tracker because I don’t own any device that I could use for it.

    Plus, since the tracks are above-ground, already I can often see how far away the next train is from the platform. Even when I am just walking towards the station, sometimes I can see.

    I agree with the above commenter who said that the busses are the much more unpredictable part of my commute (especially the S) and it would be great if there were a way to track them or just make them run more often.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I have to agree with the comments above; the train is much more reliable than the bus so I’ve never had to use the Tracker. I would really appreciate something that would let me know when my bus is going to be arriving.

  10. Tim says:

    Since the train tracker has gone online I use it everytime I am going to take the rail. I ride the rail about 2-5 days a week depending on time constraints and the need for my car after work. Having the tracker has increased my use of the rail since I know when it will be at the station by my house. Knowing if the train is 2 minutes away versus 20 minutes away definetly affects my decision to drive or ride.

    If only there was such a system for the buses, I might even be inclined to venture on to one of those.

    -Tim

  11. Anonymous says:

    Never use it. Screens with the waiting times at each platform would be a huge help and would allow people who do not have mobile devices know how long their wait will be.

    I agree, we need a Bus tracking system.

  12. expat says:

    i agree with those above. the train tracker has not affected my use of the metrorail, because the train is already regular enough that i can just show up at the station and expect a train to come within the next 20 minutes. what we need is a bus tracker. there’s a bus route that runs less than a block from my house (a rare convenience in suburbia), but it’s rather useless to me because there’s really no relation between the bus’s arrival and its official schedule, so it’s completely unpredictable.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I use the train tracker all the time. It’s really helpful and should definitely be implemented into the bus system. It’d make life a lot easier and increase ridership for sure.

  14. MOC says:

    I think “Where’s the train?” train tracker is a fantastic tool! I work at UM/JMH and ride from Dadeland South. Train tracker has made it much more attractive for me to ride the train. My hours are unpredictable and getting up to the Civic Center platform at 7:30pm or later and then having to wait 25 minutes is enough to not ride the metrorail. And running up the stairs (often broken escalator) lugging briefcase is a drag. With train tracker I have it down to where I can leave my office with 4 min 30 secs until the next train and walk at a leisurely pace and get to the platform as the southbound is leaving the Alapattah Station and approaching Civic Center.

    I used to live out in west Kendall and ride the busses and KAT to/from the train. It would definitely be great to have some sort of GPS for the busses and a “next train/bus” reader board at each major stop. Not everyone has a handheld with internet connection.

    By the way, the maintenance of basic equipment at the train stations is pathetic. I’ve been riding MD transit since 1980 and metrorail since it went on line. Things are the worst I’ve ever seen. Esclators out of order. Elevators out of order. Turnstiles not working. After days out of service, things are fixed and then broken again in several days. It wasn’t this bad until the last year or so. It’s inexcusable and embarrassing for our community, especially with all of our visitors from other world class cities.

  15. MOC says:

    I got caught up in my tirade about disrepairs in the previous post and forgot to comment on the accuracy of train tracker. It is extremely accurate. Also, when the next train time shows an inordinately long time or there is no time, I can tell that the trains are having problems and avoid going up to the platform and getting caught in a mad rush of delayed riders all trying to cram on the next train when it eventually arrives. This isn’t a frequent occurance but once a month is enough to make me consider this capability another great functionality of train tracker.

    Maybe train tracker could give explicit notices of delays and where on the line the problem is, and some sort of estimate of when things will be remedied, etc.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I agree, we desperately need a system like this for the bus side. That would be of real value b/c they are much more unpredictable. It looks like Chicago has recently installed a similar system:

    http://www.bustracker.com.

    I Googled “BusTime,” which shows up as the service provider, and apparently the sytem is provided by a company called Clever Devices.

  17. Ryan Sharp says:

    I want to thank everyone for their input — I’ve passed along your ideas to MDT.

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