The MTA can kiss Joanna’s app

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Here an app, there an app, everywhere an app, app. Old MTA has all these apps, but what good do they do?

Last weekend, the MTA held a “Hackathon” where a whole bunch of techy folks — geeks if you will — showed off their latest apps that are supposed to help you and me get around in this city.

Yeah, apps. Just what the MTA really needs.

I mean, who needs better service, elevators that actually elevate, escalators that really escalate, and a stop to fare hikes when we can have more apps?

Now, I’m sure at this point you are all anxious and can’t wait to learn who rode away with top honors for the top app.

Hold on to your MetroCards.

Are you sitting down? Because I’m sure this is the most stupendous news that any New Yorker ever wanted to learn.

The top app went to “Following Your Favorite Subway Musicians.”

Are you happy? I know I am. I can finally follow a subway musician all over the system, which is really great news since I can’t even get my 4G, 3G or any gosh darn golly gee smartphone service in the subway tunnels as it is. But who’s complaining? The cash prize was 5,000 bucks.

The app not only allows you to follow said musician, but you can also see his, her, or their schedule, the stations most performed at, and then share the music with friends.

Is this the best invention ever or what?

Second prize went to MTA Sheriff, an app that allows users to submit and view reports about subway conditions and concerns. Great news, but see my previous comment.

Third prize went to Accessway, an app that is designed for visually impaired users to convert real-time information into spoken format to find out which stations are handicapped accessible. If you are visually impaired, how can you see the sign that says, “Out of Order” when you get to the station that is supposed to be working but never is? Maybe they should change the written “Out of Order” signs to audio instead and save the app.

I’m sure these were the cream of the crop, however, I have a few of my own that bear serious consideration:

• A translation app that deciphers the garbled, inaudible, and complicated message that comes over the loud speakers telling you your train is late and you won’t be getting home any time soon.

• The app that allows your smartphone to automatically keep the doors open long enough for you to make the train as you hobble down the stairs.

• An app that starts your dinner and has it ready and waiting on the table when you get home, even if you are hours late because you can’t understand the garbled, inaudible, complicated message because your app didn’t work on your 4G, 3G, gosh darn golly gee smart phone and you got on the wrong train and wound up in Nebraska.

Not for Nuthin™ but until the MTA uses my apps, I’m not downloading any of theirs. So there.

Follow me on Twitter @JDelBuono.

Joanna DelBuono writes about national issues — and technology — every Wednesday on E-mail her at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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