Wish I could take the subway up state

So tonight I had to go rent a car for Thanksgiving travel.  Unfortunately, I didn’t know that every garage in my neighborhood was going to be filled to capacity.

Where the hell did all these cars come from?  There’s no room in the garages, and there’s no room to park on the streets.  I drove around for an hour before I found a space.  It’s insane.

Makes me glad I don’t actually own a car in the city.  I don’t know what I would do if I had to deal with this crap everyday.

Now if only we could get the subway to run up state, I’d be in much better shape.  Instead, I’ll be battling the girdlock alert day.

I did see bleachers set up along the parade route already.  They have a bunch right outside my work subway entrance.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

iPhone & iTouch Subway Applications

Here’s a pretty comprehensive list of iPhone & iTouch applications for subway riders.  They include NYC subway maps, directions, tips, and MTA information.  They all have their pluses, and are really cheap.

These are apps that you will find yourself using on a pretty regular basis, especially if you spend a lot of time traveling around New York City.

These links will open up iTunes on your computer automatically.  From within iTunes, you can see what the apps look like, and see all their features.

Now when you’re out in the Village on the weekend, you can easily navigate your way back home!

Tube New York is a superb interactive guide to New York’s Subway, Path, Staten Island railway & Air Train services along with an informative central New York street map.

With no need for a Internet connection Tube will display a clear scrollable detailed map of these transport systems uniquely overlaid onto an informative central New York street map.

Tube can calculate the quickest routes for all your journeys on these public transport systems and show a fantastic animated display of your route on the map.

Full details of your routes are provided including line changes, platform directions, direction of travel, number of stops and accurate journey times. The New York subway services change dependent on time of day and the user can select from 6 different schedules (Rush AM, Midday, Rush PM, Evening, Night and Weekend).

When an Internet connection is available “Live Information” on the current state of the transport systems can be viewed (and automatically saved for future reference) allowing you to plan your journeys in advance and avoid any potential delays.

Quick station search and station information such as disabled access and fare zones are just a few taps away.

A wealth of other information on places of interest, hotels & restaurants, museums & galleries, entertainment etc is also provided along with details on the nearest stations and the quickest route to get there.

With the iPhone’s inbuilt GPS system you can find your position on the central New York street map and easily locate the nearest station or place of interest.   A must have for anyone traveling in New York.

$9.99 Tube New York

The Kick Map is designed is to get more people to ride New York City’s subway system. Created with clarity and ease of use, it allows riders to navigate this vast system easily and without uncertainty. The subway map is the key to understanding this most complex subway in the world, which has 26 separate lines and 468 stations.

A well-designed map not only welcomes and empowers novices to use the subway but also encourages additional use for regular “home-to-work-only” commuters to use the subway for recreational destinations where they might otherwise take a car. For this reason the design of the subway map can directly influence ridership numbers and can indirectly have an effect on New York’s traffic congestion and pollution. In short, a better-designed subway map will make our subway system more open and accessible.

$1.99 NYC Subway 24-Hour KickMap

The iPhone game Subway Shuffle is a collection of puzzles set in a subway system. You have boarded a car on the Red Line, and your task is to reach your destination. The problem is, there are other subway cars in your way! Each subway car can move only on its own color line: the red cars on the Red Line, the blue cars on the Blue Line, etc. Can you shuffle the cars from station to station, eventually moving your own car to your exit station?

Subway Shuffle comes with 70 different layouts, of increasing difficulty. The early levels are fairly easy. They help you learn the techniques you will need to solve the later levels — which, though simple looking, are surprisingly challenging.

$2.99 Subway Shuffle

iTrans NYC Subway – Tell us From and To, and we’ll get you there.
Using a sophisticated algorithm, iTrans finds the fastest route between any two stations taking the current schedules into account, then guides you step by step. It even works when you’re offline underground.

Search – Find any station with a few taps.
Search is easy and instantaneous. iTrans shows you the lines that service each station, as well as the borough the station is in (New York City only). Select a station and iTrans scrolls right to it on the map.

Schedules – Tap on a station to see the next trains.
If you tap on a station, the Stop Info Pane shows the next departures for each line. Leave the office at just the right time to catch your train, or see which lines are running right now.

Maps – Beautiful offline high-res maps
Scroll around the interactive system map in stunning high resolution. Pinch or double tap to quickly zoom in or out—graphics are always sharp. It’s by far the best way to view the system map on iPhone.
Maps and Location Integration.

Go to a station in Maps; find nearest stations.
Tap “Show in Google Maps” to go directly to that station in Maps; it’s great for getting from your final stop to the destination. iTrans also has a Location button; it’ll find the nearest stop and scroll to it on the map.

Advisories
Info about delays and service changes.

$4.99 iTrans NYC Subway

CityTransit is a comprehensive guide to traveling through New York City. It includes official subway maps licensed from NYC’s MTA, line data, a GPS-based station finder and live service advisories. An expandable architecture will allow the future download of bus maps, commuter rail lines and more.

-Integrates with the Maps Application to show nearest stations
-Live service advisories from the MTA website

$2.99 CityTransit NYC Subway Guide

NYC Subway Maps – You ride the subway and want to be able to check a map from time to time. Being able to check the MTA website on your iPhone/iPod Touch is great, but if you are already underground with no signal you are out of luck.

Mapped New York’s underground with original illustrations, and many users feel they are easier to ready than the MTA’s own.

$2.99 NYC Subway Maps for iPhone and iPod touch

NYC Subway Maps

We thought it would be useful to put together a list of the best NYC Subway maps available on the Internet and beyond.  If you have any to add to the list, please post a link in the comments, and we’ll add it to the main body of the post.

Since our last post about NYC Subway maps (back in 2006), there’s been a lot of new ones, and some improvements to the old ones.

  • Gypsy Maps – A Google Maps mashup of the subway lines.  Nicely color coded and information about each station.
  • On NY Turf – Similar to Gypsy Maps, but is actually the original Google Map mashup.  Also includes the PATH trains.  Available in many languages because the people that need the maps most are often from outside the US.
  • MTA Trip Planner – The MTA finally got off their butts and put together a route planner.  They also teamed up with Google to get it done.  They also offer a widget for you to put the planner on your own website.
  • Public Routes – A Hop Stop like site that offers routes and maps for transit systems all over the country, including NYC.
  • Hop Stop – One of the more commercialized subway and transit mapping systems on the web.  Put in your location and destination, and Hop Stop gives you the detailed directions of how to get their including subways, buses, and good old walking.
  • iPhone Map – One of a couple iPhone subway maps.  This is one of the better ones, and it is free.
  • iSubway – Another iPhone subway maps.  A bit more simple.  Just an image you can download and save to your phone.
  • DadNab – An SMS based subway direction service.  Text your location and destination to get directions txt to your phone.
  • Trips123 – Subway and transit maps from around the country, including NYC.  Also has up to date information about on going construction and incidents for each subway line.

Do you have one to add to the list? Let us know!

Signage to Promote Express Metrocards

Did anyone else see signs, literally put up on easels, at your subway station advertising the new EasyPay Express Metrocards?

At Columbus Circle, they had a bunch of them printed up and set up at the main entrance.

In case you don’t know already, the MTA has set up a Metrocard that automatically refills itself when the balance gets low.  It’s kind of like an EasyPass for your car.  Once your MetroCard balance gets down to $30, it will aautomatically refill itself with $40 more.

For the pay-as-you-go crowd, this is probably a great idea.  It will certainly save you time, and you’ll never really have to worry about refilling your card again.  I only wish they did the same thing for the monthly unlimited cards.  They should have one that automatically renews itself each month.

Anyway, this is the first time I’ve seen the MTA set up these little sign boards to promote a new program.  Wonder if it will make a difference.

Vote and Ride the Subway

Here’s an idea that’s uniquely New York: Vote while riding the subway.  You know how the MTA does it’s semi regular rider report cards?  Let’s do that for voting.

I can only imagine how long the lines are going to be tomorrow.  There’s going to be way more people than anyone expected voting tomorrow, so I thought this idea might be good for 2012.

Just like the report cards, have people pick up their official ballots on their way in to the subway.  You can still have it be official where you have to be registered to get a ballot.

Then you take your ballot with you on the train.  While you’re waiting on the platform or riding, you should have plenty of time to fill it out.  All you need is a No. 2 pencil, and you’re all set.  Then simply deposit your ballot when you get off the train.  Maybe that’s too open to fraud?

Ok, so instead checking in at the registration table before you get a ballot, you do it after.  So everyone who gets in the subway gets handed a blank ballot.  Then when you get to your destination, you take your completed ballot to the registration table.  If you’re on the roll and your info checks out, you can deposit your ballot in the box.

Or if all else fails, put big blue and red dots on the subway turnstiles.  Swipe through the blue turnstiles to vote for Obama.  Swipe through the red turnstiles to vote for McCain.  (Something tells me there’d be a log jam in the blue lanes.)

Top 10 Subway Bullsh*t

  1. Heat (or lack of AC): Can’t we poke some holes in the ceiling of the train lines to allow more ventilation?  Is it that hard to do?  And I’m sure there’s a way to do it and keep the rain out at the same time.
  2. Security: Well, there isn’t any.  Random cops sometimes standing around talking to each other is security?
  3. Lack of Cameras: When I get mugged (it’s only a matter of time), I want it caught on film.  All you privacy freaks, get over it.  Your face on camera while you wait for the train is not an invasion of your privacy.  Cameras in the bathrooms, maybe.  But since there are hardly any bathrooms, it’s not a problem.
  4. Lack of Wireless Service:  Honestly?  It’s almost 2009.  Get on the stick.
  5. MetroCard: The MetroCard was a good idea up until 1999.  Now it’s time for something better.  A pocket EZPass?  Swipe your cellphone?
  6. Giving Money to Panhandlers: If everyone stopped giving money to the bums on the train that claim “their papers got lost” and “they got mugged at the shelter” and “that apologize for the interruption,” they would stop begging on the train.  They simply would go somewhere else to make a buck.  I’ve seen the same 3 or 4 bums pitching the same exact story for years now.
  7. Strollers: Nuff Said.
  8. MTA: Pretty much everyone in charge over there.  Especially the ones in charge of the books.
  9. Electronic Message Boards: Nuff Said.
  10. Bitching About Our Bitching: If you have a problem with our bitching, that’s ok.  We’d love to hear about it, but SUBWAYblogger is here to stay.
Now it is time for you to add #11, 12, 13, etc!  Post away in the comments.  Get the list going.  Tell a friend.  Check the little box under the submit button to find out when other people reply.

Trains that Bypass Stations…”Beep Beep”

When was the last time you were waiting on the platform for what seemed like an eternity only to have the next train blow right past you?

I’ve witnessed it a lot lately.  At least 3 times in the last 5 days actually. Luckily for me, I was already on board the train doing the bypassing.  So my local train got to run express for a few stops.  Honestly, it feels awesome.

It totally sucks though if you’re the one on the platform.

Sometimes, the trains get so backed up that there are massive gaps between trains.  So, the train dispatchers instruct the trains to skip stops in order to catch up and spread the load out.  It will slow down as it approaches the station and beep the horn in two short bursts.  That’s the sound of you getting screwed.

In most cases, there’s another train a minute behind the one that just blew past you (like they say in the announcements).

Have you witnessed it a lot lately?

PHOTO CREDIT

Auto Refill MetroCard

Anyone have the new automatically refilling MetroCards that the MTA released a few weeks ago?

It works like an EZPass almost.  You fill it up with $40, then when the balance gets low, it automatically refills itself (aka charges your credit card).

Sounds convenient if you are a pay-as-you-go rider.

As you know, SUBWAYblogger is a monthly unlimited user.  Unfortunately, this program doesn’t work for those cards.  I wish it did.  Just bill me the $81 and call it a day.  Then again,  I guess that’s sort of how TransitChek works.

Keith Urban Performs in Columbus Circle

On my way home today, I checked out what I had predicted to be insanity in Columbus Circle…the NFL Kickoff show.  I shot this quick clip of Keith Urban performing on stage.

http://www.viddler.com/player/9a10a2f0/

I didn’t stick around long.

Shockingly, the subway was not at all busy.  This morning, I asked a transit cop if the entrances would be closed.  He said yes, but they were all open when I got there.

I didn’t stick around for Usher’s performance, so maybe it got more crowded then.  Overall, wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

NFL Kickoff Sh*tshow in Columbus Circle

If you haven’t seen or heard, the NFL has taken over all of Columbus Circle.  Tomorrow, it grows even more.

It’s all for the “NFL Kickoff” celebration tomorrow featuring performances by Usher, Keith Urban, and Natasha Bedingfield.

There’s an enormous stage taking up the width of Central Park South.  The stage is set up on Columbus Circle facing down CPS toward 5th Avenue.

However, all of the Circle will be closed to traffic and much of it to foot traffic tomorrow.  Streets all the way up to the 60’s on Broadway and Central Park West. And all of Central Park South from Columbus Circle to 5th Avenue.  Insane!

It’s going to make subway traffic in that area interesting.

The Columbus Circle subway is a complete disaster as it is right now from the never ending construction.  So I don’t know how they plan to handle all of the afternoon commute traffic.  The concert starts at about 3PM and ends by 6:45p.  So the rush should be fun.

Getting in and out of the half open stairways, half width platforms, etc is going to be epic.