Regular commuters know exactly which door on which subway car will deposit them either right in front of the station exit, or in the right spot to catch their connecting train. On a crowded rush-hour platform, that can mean the difference between making your connection or waiting on a packed platform for 10 minutes, only to miss the next train, too.
The CityMapper app now offers this secret knowledge to day-trippers. It uses GPS and data about subway, train, and bus stops to figure out the fastest way to your destination, and now it also tells you whether to board at the front, middle or back, in order to get you in the best spot for changing.
In some stations, the change between two lines can be as fast as dashing through an archway between parallel platforms, but at rush hour, you really want your exit to be right next to that archway, or you’ll have to fight your way there.
This feature is so new that CityMapper hasn’t yet decided what to call it. Currently, the blog is using the unwieldy title “Where to Get On the Train,” which is at least self-explanatory. It also means that the coverage is spotty right now, but users can contribute updates using the “Improve Data” button in the app.
For those unwilling to wait, or who don’t live on one of the cities or countries covered by CityMapper, there’s Exit Strategy NYC, which, as you can guess from the name, works in New York City.
You may be wondering what happens when everyone uses these apps, and the best exits are impossible to get to. Exit Strategy’s FAQ has that one covered:
Q. What happens when everyone has this app and the ‘right door’ becomes overcrowded?
A. Then that should be our next app: show you where the least crowded part of the train is.