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Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Michael Semensohn

An exciting new app could save you from a hellish subway commute

By Clayton Guse
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Transportation apps like Citymapper and Transit are great for uncovering efficient subway routes, but neither platform tracks the never-ending stream of delays that impact service on the system. Last week, Google’s in-house incubator Area 120 unveiled a new platform that pulls in all of the navigation features of those two apps but adds in a feature through which users can report delays at a given station, not unlike Google’s Waze app, which tracks street-level traffic congestion.

Dubbed Pigeon, the app is currently only available to iOS users who are given an invite code. Still, it’s proving to be useful even in its initial, limited phase. Users can plug in addresses for their start and destination points, and the app will spit out the most efficient subway route to take, along with the train arrival times and estimated delays based off of reports submitted by other users. If you happen to be on a train that stalls in a tunnel for 10 minutes, you can document it on the app to keep other straphangers from falling into a transit hell.

This app fills a major hole in the MTA's reporting system. The only real way that commuters can be provided with information about extensive delays is through sporadic, muffled PSA announcements and the New York City Transit Twitter account, which is often delayed in reporting delays. Once it opens up to more users and gathers more daily data and reports, it could very well become a go-to platform for New Yorkers, especially when the L train shuts down and impacts subway service across Brooklyn and Queens.

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