You ride the rails of Metro-North all the time, but have you ever considered what wonders and other amenities lie just beyond its tracks? Say no more. New Rochelle partners Ed Smith and Rick DuFort designed the MetroNorthStation app so that commuters might easily navigate their way to and through restaurants, shops, and taxi services near Metro-North stations throughout the county.
“The goal is to connect commuters with local businesses and expose all of the businesses to the commuter traffic that’s going through their towns every day,” Smith says.
Simply click your station and view a list of local businesses and services by category. The free app encourages people to try different businesses by offering promotions such as free drinks or appetizers at restaurants. Business owners can then gauge their ads’ effectiveness based on the customer traffic that shows up to take advantage of the incentives.
To get local businesses to sign up with the app, Smith and DuFort have been using the good ol’ shoe-leather express—going door to door to sign new partners. Since their 2015 launch, at least 350 businesses have signed on, and 50,000 people have downloaded the app. About 25 additional businesses get on-board every two weeks.
Smith plans to add live weather feeds, local history, and additional categories for businesses like automotive and local emergency services. He is also working with the MTA, to incorporate real-time train notifications.
“There are thousands of commuters, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be aware of a benefit in the town,” Smith says.