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MTA picks the best new transit apps to help riders get around town



There are dozens of apps out there to help you get around town, and on Thursday, the MTA picked the best.

A panel of nine judges picked Embark NYC as the best out of 42 apps submitted, awarding its developers with $5,000 and MTA merchandize. CityMaps was voted most popular.

The cash-strapped transit agency began sharing information in 2010 with programmers, hoping they would create transit apps for straphangers.

Developers outside the MTA “have the creativity, have the technological ability and the knowledge to make the best apps,” said MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan. “Usually we don’t know what can be done and were pleasantly surprised by how cool it is.”

Here’s a look at some of the winners:

Embark NYC
Android and iPhone (Free)
Grand Prize

Using GPS, this app tells you the best way to get to any address you type in or tap on a subway map — and it even works underground.

The app, created by four 23-year-olds in California, stores MTA schedule information, and lists service alerts. Developer David Hodge said they’ve even figured out how long it takes New Yorkers to walk inside a station to make a transfer.

“If you need to decide, ‘Do I need to run for my train, or do I have time for my coffee?’ — that’s what this helps you do,” Hodge said. “We make it very, very simple to get from A to B.”

Free NYC Subway Locator
iPhone (Free)
Second Place

The app does exactly what it claims to do: using GPS, it says approximately how many feet away the nearest subway entrances are.

Users can check service alerts, flip through tweets about the MTA, and turn off certain lines they don’t want to take.

Notify Me NYC
Android (Free)
Third Place

For riders that don’t like to be surprised by unexpected service disruptions (which is pretty much everyone), this app’s for you.

After setting the days and times you normal start your commute, and the subway (or commuter rail) lines you like to take, you’ll get a message with are any problems.

, iPhone app expected this month (Free)
Popular Choice Award – Grand Prize

Developer Christopher Winfield knows there are plenty of apps that help you get around. “That’s just where we get started,” he said.

“Once you get out of the subway, that’s when the strengths of our app comes out,” Winfield said. “No other app takes into account what you’ll be doing once you get off the subway.”

On their map, you can search for nearby eateries, check out if they have any specials and make a reservation. Local movie theater icons also display show times.

Right Track: Metro North
Android (Free)
Popular Choice Award – Second Place

Metro North riders can get train schedules without internet connection, and with it, they can find train’s status info, track number and look up how subway and bus service is.


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