When’s my next train? Some ways to find out…

Yesterday, I promised you some tools you can use to find out when your next train will leave the station. Here’s my list:

CooCoo – Metro-North tells me CooCoo developers are the only ones that get real-time information about trains straight from the MTA. So it’ll tell you when your train will actually be arriving, not just when it’s supposed to.

CooCoo has a free app that’s similar to Right Track, but by favorite aspect of CooCoo actually isn’t the app. As long as you have some kind of cell phone, just text your route to 266266 (example: “NHV to GCT” or “New Haven to Grand Central”) and you’ll get a text telling you the next three trains and what time they arrive. No need for a smartphone or an app.

Right Track I like this app because I can save a bunch of “favorite” routes to it, so I don’t have to keep selecting the routes I’m looking for over and over again. Downsides: Doesn’t give you real-time info, only train schedules. And loading time is slow. I’ve also noticed the schedules don’t always update on the app if they’ve been changed for a holiday weekend. Plus, only for Android; not iPhones.

OneTouchTrain – Some very cool features, including one that automatically gives you schedules based on the train station where you currently are; and alarms that make sure you don’t sleep past your train stop. $1.99, for iPhone and Android.

RailTimeThis app claims to give real-time info on trains as well, telling you how many minutes late your train might be. It’ll also notify you when the next train is about to leave using an alarm system; and once you’ve boarded, it can automatically email friends to let them know which train you’re on. Only for the iPhone, and requires buying a subscription for individual lines that costs a few dollars a year.

 BetterMetroNorth.com – Not an app, just a web site. But it’s way, way easier than using the scheduler on the MTA’s web site.

Some apps claim to tell you even more specific information, such as what track your train will arrive on. But transit agencies have pushed back, saying there may be such a thing as too much information for the commuter. More on that tomorrow.