NextStop Realtime FAQs

We’ve created this page to answer some frequently asked questions about NextStop’s realtime arrival time support. If you have additional questions, please drop us a note on Twitter or Facebook.

Why does the location icon stay on when the app is in the background?

NextStop uses the iPhone’s “Significant Location Change” and “Geofencing” services to provide you with recent realtime information when you’re underground. These services are designed for this purpose and have minimal battery impact (they do not use the GPS). You can disable this feature by turning off Location Services for NextStop in the settings app. I apologize for the confusion and will make this behavior more clear in an upcoming release.

Why aren’t realtime arrivals available for the lettered lines?

The short answer is that the equipment used by the lettered lines isn’t connected to computers, and therefore it’s not technically possible. The MTA has said they plan to update these lines, but it will be very expensive and is years away. You can read more about this under “Sustained Investment Makes Real-Time Information Possible” in this MTA post.

Most stations don’t have internet access. Is a connection required in order to access realtime data?

Yes, but NextStop will attempt to automatically download the latest realtime information as you enter a subway station (even in the background) so that you have recent information available on the platform. This feature is experimental and results may vary from station to station.

What do the colored dots next to the arrival times mean?

  • A green dot means that the time is based on a recent realtime train position. This is the highest level of accuracy, and the train should arrive very close to the time shown.
  • A yellow dot means that the time is based on an older realtime train position. You will see this when NextStop hasn’t had an internet connection for over 10 minutes (most likely because you’re underground). The actual arrival time may vary slightly depending on any delays the train encounters since your phone last had an Internet connection.
  • A gray dot means that the time is based on the MTAs published schedule data (updated every several months). The actual arrival time could vary by 2 minutes or more based on current conditions (train issues, sick passengers, etc).