Real Time updates for MUNI busses?

Ben Shore's picture

It seems like it happens more times than not. When I need to catch a MUNI, I'll go online to the MTA website, type in my starting address, destination address and what time I'm looking to leave. I go outside to the MUNI stop a few minutes before the bus is supposed to arrive. I'm standing there for a few minutes and...nothing. The scheduled time comes and goes with no bus. Maybe it comes 10 minutes after the scheduled time, maybe 15, maybe never. Isn't there a way to incorporate some kind of "Real Time" into the MTA website? So, if a bus is supposed to arrive at 5:59pm but it's stuck in traffic or had problems loading or off-loading - whatever - the website will update that? It doesn't seem like it would be that much trouble to get that system going. It seems a bit archaic as it is now, simply giving a standard time that a bus is "supposed" to arrive but not accounting for other issues. It gets cold waiting out there sometimes...

Juan Carlos Sanchez's picture

The longest minute is a MUNI minute...

I'm with you on that one - Ben. I used Google Maps on my iPhone to try to figure out MUNI bus schedules but it only took me a few short days to realize that it was not accurate. Then, it didnt take longer than that to realize that MUNI's own time was wrong. One minute before the bus was set to arrive would more often than not turn into a five minute wait. The longest minute is a MUNI minute...

A question for the masses - what's the best MUNI app for my iPhone? Is there any out there that actually work? Or, are they all based on the same flawed information that the bus stop timers use?

Phil Ting's picture


I've used Nextbus with limited success.  It's generally a good app and seems to relatively accurate.  Other friends swear by it.

Here's the link - let me know what u think.

There's a beta version of MuniTime -

Maybe we should have a contest for the best MUNI app?

Juan Carlos Sanchez's picture

Best MUNI San Francisco iPhone App - NextBus & iCommuteSF

Thanks for the tip - Phil! I tried the link MuniTime but it said that, ironically, they had to shut their service down because someone claimed to own the data it was based on. They did, however, send me to the NextBus website. But, shouldnt this information be open to all in order to crowd-source the best possible app for MUNI?

Anyways, I also downloaded iCommuteSF to my iPhone - which came highly recommended from a friend. I will try both NextBus and iCommuteSF and will check back in a few days about which worked best.

Juan Carlos Sanchez's picture

Pocket MUNI

Forgot to mention that I will also try out Pocket MUNI - which cost $0.99 but members of my entourage - yes, I have an entourage - say it's way worth it.

Alyssa Sittig's picture


Did you know you can also text nextbus for real time updates? For those of us without a smartphone, it's a great resource.

Here's how it works:

1) text 41411

2) The body of the message follows this format: nbus sf 7th & Folsom (substitute in the appropriate stop)

You can subscribe to updates too and get updates when a specified bus is a certain distance away!

Learn more here:


Juan Carlos Sanchez's picture

Best Muni Iphone App: Pocket MUNI

Great interface and, best of all, accurate results! I used this app for a week and just once did it fail me - which is a HUGE improvent from the times MUNI bus stop times have failed me. I encourage anyoen who is reading this thread to invest $0.99 and purchase Pocket MUNI for your Iphone. I don't know if this app is available for other smart phones.

Ben Shore's picture

Pocket MUNI Iphone App works pretty well

Really glad to have received these great suggestions on finding a better way to get accurate arrival times for MUNI. I must say that I bought the Pocket MUNI app yesterday and (it's only been a day) I am very impressed. While it doesn't say (at least that I can see) that "your bus is 2 minutes away" or "your bus is .14 miles away" or whatever, the interface definitely works well enough. You visually see where your bus is relative to where you are and can get an overall idea of how long it'll take to get there. Pretty smart app. And now when I go to the MTA website and look up bus times and it says 6:02, I'll feel confident that I can double-check and not have to stand outside braving this recent cold snap! Thanks again for your suggestions, hopefully more people find out about this.

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