MTA Unveils New Capacity Tracking and Real-Time Location Features in Metro-North TrainTime App

MTA Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi today unveiled major new features to the Metro-North TrainTime app, including one that lets customers track in real time the amount of space available on each car of an approaching train. The feature is designed to help customers keep appropriate social distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Riders can also easily track the location of trains before and after arriving at their origin station right within the app.

The enhancements to the app being announced today result from the talent and creativity of in-house staff members at Metro-North, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the Long Island Rail Road.  In July, Metro-North sponsored a hackathon attended by teams of tech experts who are continuing to work with the MTA and Metro-North to further refine and enhance the app.

Passengers who already have the app installed will receive an automatic update with the new feature, and will be able to do so on a new, more detailed interface. An additional feature of the app provides customers with push notifications for track assignments at Grand Central Terminal allowing riders to spread out throughout the station complexes rather than standing in immediate proximity to departure boards.

The capacity tracking feature is being rolled out by car fleet. It is currently available for trains operating on the electric portions of the Harlem Line and Hudson Line. These trains are composed of M7 railcars. The feature is in development for the M8 car fleet that provides service on the New Haven Line, and for Metro-North’s diesel fleet.

Updates such as the MTA eTix one-tap connection was added in September, streamlining ticket purchasing for customers who used the MTA eTix app to buy their mobile tickets in advance of travel. Forty percent of all tickets purchased by Metro-North passengers are acquired via eTix. Tickets purchased using a mobile device cost the same as those purchased at a ticket machine. Customers can pay with Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express or use digital wallets like Apple Pay and Master Pass.

Since its inception in 2013, the free mobile app, which is available on Google Play and the AppStore, has provided real-time status and schedule information to costumers via their smartphones, along with destination, track assignment and real-time position of the next 12 trains at a given station. Features also include service alerts, fare information, ADA accessibility, parking availability and connecting services. The app is also translated into six languages — English, Spanish, Chinese, Yiddish, Portuguese and Italian.

Highlights of the Metro-North TrainTime app include:

  • New, refreshed interface with detailed results
  • Real-time capacity tracking to enhance social distancing
  • Real-time capacity tracking on station signage 5 minutes prior to train arrival
  • Real-time train location updated every three seconds
  • Closed car notifications
  • Ability to bookmark favorite trips
  • Easier access to eTix
  • Six available languages — English, Spanish, Chinese, Yiddish, Portuguese and Italian

The hackathon was the first sponsored by the MTA in six years. Previous MTA-sponsored AppQuest challenges in 2012, 2013 and 2014 assisted in the development of other apps to help MTA customers navigate the system.

For more information about the Metro-North TrainTime app, visit

-via Press Release

This article was posted on: November 16, 2020