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MBTA Bus Customers Now Have a New Real-time Bus Crowding Information Tool

Posted on June 19, 2020

Real-time crowding information is available for Routes 1, 15, 16, 22, 23, 31, 32, 109, and 110 at mbta.com/schedules.

Real-time crowding information for additional bus routes will be made available throughout the summer.

BOSTON – The MBTA today announced the launch of a real-time crowding information pilot for nine bus routes at mbta.com/schedules, on e-ink digital signs, and within the Transit app, the MBTA’s endorsed smartphone app. The MBTA is the largest U.S. transit agency to make real-time crowding information available for local buses to customers.

“We’re excited to offer this new real-time feature as a pilot to our riders to help limit crowding as customers begin to return to the MBTA system,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “With riders requesting information about crowding, this new real-time information provides riders with the confidence and flexibility to make informed choices about their commutes.”

Beginning today, riders can find real-time crowding information for Routes 1, 15, 16, 22, 23, 31, 32, 109, and 110 at mbta.com/schedules, on digital signs, and within the Transit app. The MBTA selected this first set of nine bus routes to pilot real-time information as these are busy routes with notably high ridership during the pandemic. For each route, the MBTA’s Customer Technology team verified the accuracy of real-time crowding information through manual passenger counts. 

Crowding levels are described as “Crowded,” “Some Crowding,” and “Not Crowded.” These standards are based on the temporarily lowered crowding threshold standards that accommodate social distancing measures with customers able to learn more about these thresholds at mbta.com/crowding. This information will also continue to be available to customers as the Commonwealth transitions through its opening phases with the MBTA’s Customer Technology team making adjustments as needed to best communicate this information. This information is displayed on the mbta.com schedule page by clicking or tapping the vehicle icons on the maps or line diagrams. An animated demonstration of how to use this new real-time crowding feature is below: 

Crowding information for additional bus routes will be made available throughout the summer as data accuracy is further refined and verified. Later this summer, the MBTA will also publish crowding trends for bus and subway routes at mbta.com and on e-ink digital signs to help riders estimate crowding levels as they plan their trips.

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