Time is running out before we're all enslaved by our robot overlords to build a giant laser beam for eradicating the rival robot planet Node 49 (look it up) but the MTA is letting us feel superior one last time by voting for the most useful subway smartphone apps. Preview all 42 applications here, and vote for your favorites from now until January 11, when two Popular Choice winners will be crowned, along with the overall winner. Our money is on the app that keeps rats from crawling on your face.
Besides fame and glory, the two Popular Choice winners will receive $2,000 and $1,000 respectively, along with a bunch of MTA swag. Before you shake your fist at the idea of a budget-strapped utility sponsoring these newfangled 'puter games, the monetary prizes are sponsored by ChallengePost. Most of the applications can be downloaded free of charge.
A panel of judges (DISCLOSURE: our own Jen Chung is among them) including NYC Deputy Mayor of Operation Cas Holloway, NYC Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne, MTA chief information officer Wael Hibri and Second Avenue Sagas founder Benjamin Kabak, will determine the overall champion. At least for Jen, there's no immediate, clear-cut winner yet because none of the apps feature gratuitous amounts of panda photos.
There's something for the event-oriented who need to know where the closest bar to your subway stop (88 Yards) and those who revel in the esoteric (Dead Escalators). And there are apps for buses and LIRR lines too. We're particularly keen on programs that show you where all the different station exits are (iTrans), or that sync with your Google Calendar or Foursquare accounts to prevent frantic, last-minute Googlemapping (Don't Be Late). Need to know if you have time for a smoke AND want to piss off Mayor Bloomberg? Vote for TrainSmoker.