Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North commuters now have a mobile app that allows them to buy tickets and monitor real-time data on a train’s location and seat availability.
MTA officials unveiled the new TrainTime app on Wednesday at Grand Central Terminal, touting it as a new tool for the modern rail traveler. The new app comes as the MTA is eager to get ridership numbers up on its commuter rails. Weekday ridership on the Metro-North this past week has hovered above 50% of pre-pandemic levels, according to MTA comparisons to 2019. Those numbers are slightly higher for the LIRR, with weekday ridership closer to 60% of 2019 levels in the past week.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli noted in a report last month that ridership is not recovering as anticipated, which could lead to significant budget shortfalls in the coming years.
“This is the MTA’s way of showing up to 2022,” said Will Fisher, the MTA’s head of special projects.
Travelers on the Metro-North and LIRR previously had to use multiple apps to plan trips, buy tickets, and look up schedules.
The MTA said the app features information on train locations updated every two seconds through GPS sensors attached to cars. Real-time train capacity data is determined by the weight of each car.
TrainTime is the largest transit agency app in the country, the MTA said. The app does not include information on the New York City subway system.
Catherine Rinaldi, who heads the Metro-North and LIRR, said commuters had asked for years for a one-stop app where they could buy tickets and keep track of trains.
“We’re thrilled to be able to deliver on that ask,” Rinaldi said.
She added that the app appeared to be a hit: 20,000 more tickets than usual were purchased in just an hour through the app.