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Guide-A-Ride is MTA New York City Transit’s bus stop information display. It is a rectangular box attached to the bus stop pole that displays a route map and a schedule.[1]

The Guide-A-Ride canister is vandal-resistant[2] and was designed for easy updating of the information displayed; though as a partly analog tool still requiring visits to the site – requiring some planning during the massive system-wide service reductions Transit was forced to implement at the end of December 2009.[3]

MTA New York City Transit Guide-A-Ride kiosk
MTA New York City Transit Guide-A-Ride kiosk and bus


The prototype for Guide-A-Ride was developed for Transit in 1977, the key novelty in the display of times to the minute the bus was due at the individual stop.[4] Although skeptics doubted the ability of buses on New York’s densely packed streets to show up anything like the times posted, on-time performance proved fairly reliable.[2] In any event, customers had the comfort of knowing they were in the right place at the right time.[4] The actual displays began appearing at New York City bus stops a few years later.[2] Transit operations did not have a good reputation at the time, but Guide-A-Ride came to be viewed as one bright spot.[5]

Current Status[edit]

Even in an age when customers can access on their smartphones real-time bus arrivals as projected by satellite, Guide-A-Ride over three decades on remains an aid to bus riders needing a quick sense at a bus stop of the service offered. Similar transit aids can be seen in at bus stops in other cities including Boston,[6] Atlanta,[7] and Los Angeles, while still attracting the astonished notice of visitors to the Big Apple.[8]


  1. ^ "How to Ride the Bus, Welcome Tourists and Visitors". MTA New York City Transit Authority. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Fowler, Glenn (October 2, 1980). "New Bus Signs To Help Riders Find Their Way". New York Times. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  3. ^ "Preparing the 2010 NYCT Service Reductions: Lessons Learned from Prior Exercise, or How We Spent our Christmas Vacation." (PDF). MTA New York City Transit Authority. July 2010. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Blumenthal, Ralph (November 14, 1977). "Information ‘Kiosks’ Help Bus Riders Solve Puzzle". New York Times. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "The Worm and the Apple". The New York Times. June 1, 1985. 
  6. ^ "Key Bus Route Improvement Program". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  7. ^ Hymon, Steve (August 24, 2010). "The Art of Transit". The Source. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  8. ^ Geller, Larry (June 6, 2012). "Honolulu city government: near zero bang for the buck". Disappeared News. Retrieved 12 August 2013.