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Imagine that you’re sitting at home or at work and you receive an alert on your smartphone that a train is five minutes from your local subway station.

The new app MTA Subway Time can tell subway riders in New York when their train is arriving in real time. A similar service already exists in cities worldwide, including San Francisco and Washington D.C. This is a leap forward for the MTA, which has been slow to adopt new technologies that may benefit commuters.

The free app covers 156 stations on seven of New York’s 24 subway lines — the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 lines and the 42nd Street Shuttle. According to the Associated Press, the L will come to the app over the next 12 months, with the 7 line sometime after 2016.

The Wall Street Journal conducted an early review of the app and warned that users can expect a lag time between the app and the boards in stations, anywhere from a few seconds to a full minute.

The app is available on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and also online. The MTA expects that a Windows and Android version of the app will be available in the coming months, and will be built by third-party developers.

Image credit: European Pressphoto Agency/Metropolitan Transportation Authority

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