Bus passengers on nine MBTA routes will now be able to check their phones or computers ahead of time to get a sense of what crowds they will face during their travel.
Starting Friday, riders on some of the most popular lines can access real-time crowding information on the T's website, on the MBTA-endorsed Transit app, and on digital signs across the network.
The new feature comes as MBTA leaders prepare for ridership to tick up after months of record lows during the COVID-19 outbreak. They say travelers can make better-informed decisions about maintaining social distancing by knowing what conditions are like on buses.
Crowds will be described in three tiers: "crowded," "some crowding" or "not crowded," all of which are based on the lower counting thresholds the T implemented amid the pandemic.
Buses that will offer the new feature at the start of the pilot are Routes 1, 15, 16, 22, 23, 31, 32, 109 and 110, and T officials said they will make similar information available on additional routes throughout the summer.
In a Friday press release, the T said it is "the largest U.S. transit agency to make real-time crowding information available for local buses to customers."