When is the next bus coming? If you are waiting for the M42 or M66, the answer is easy—just look down the street and you'll probably see it hobbling towards you at a glacial pace. But for other lines you can either trust the MTA's very generous time tables or, if you live in the right places, check out BusTime on your phone or computer. But some City Council members would prefer that you be able to find the next bus just by looking up at a sign.

To that end Council Member Brad Lander yesterday announced a resolution, mostly to get the conversation started again, regarding getting bus countdown clocks installed in the city's 3,300 bus shelters (which are "run" by Cemusa, not the city). He wants them set up by the time the MTA has rolled out BusTime citywide.

Council members argue that BusTime as it exists now isn't useful for a lot of bus riders. "Not everybody texts," City Councilman James Vacca (D-Bronx) told the News regarding the program. "Many senior citizens are not tech driven. I think it's a good option we should have."

But who exactly would pay for those clocks is an open question. The MTA—which has flirted with bus clocks before—has previously argued they aren't cost effective for what they do (BusTime is "less costly to install and maintain and more useful to riders, because it provides you with accurate, real-time bus information before you even leave your apartment," a rep explains). When we asked a spokesman about any plans to add clocks they told us that "NYCDOT is working on a pilot for countdown clocks involving info kiosks that would provide bus arrival information at or near bus stops. You should definitely talk to them about it."

When we asked the DOT about their plans they would only tell us "that while we do not comment on proposed legislation that has not come to a hearing, DOT is currently working on a project to bring real-time bus arrival information to bus stops around the city." And we haven't heard back from Cemusa regarding adding clocks to their existing bus shelters (which they've done before).

So sure, the idea of adding clocks to bus stations is nice. But we give credit to the MTA credit for focusing on just getting a part of the puzzle (knowing when and where buses are) working and then dealing with the expensive inter-governmental headache of putting clocks up.