Apple users in Ottawa are the first ones testing the city’s My Transit-OC Transpo mobile application, following its launch at a transit commission meeting Wednesday morning.
The free bilingual app gives riders instant access to information on bus routes, closest stops and predicted arrival times using GPS data to identify the user’s location, showing the nearest bus stops on a map.
“It’s great that the city’s getting in here, trying to act as a bit of a leader, to show people what is possible,” said Alex Lougheed from Open Data Ottawa.
Other features include saving frequently used route information and updates as favourites, receiving alerts on detours or cancellations, searching routes and stops, and checking fare and bus pass information.
iPhone, iPod and iPad users can download My Transit from the iTunes store.
Android and Blackberry fans, though, will have to wait for compatible versions.
It shouldn’t be long, since the city is expected to open up all the data for buses on Thursday.
Commission chairwoman Diane Deans is encouraging developers to create new apps.
“We’re hoping they add on, and improve, and have other apps developed that will make the experience better for our customers,” said Deans.
Lougheed is expecting them sooner than later.
“It wouldn’t surprise me to see apps come out in the next week to a month built on top of this stuff,” he said.
“There’s a lot of interest in this data and there’s a lot of interest in making stuff on top of it. And it’s fun.”
Developer Larry Dunkelman is already toying around with an app.
On Wednesday he tried out My Transit on his iPhone and admits his opinion is biased.
“I didn’t like it too much,” said Dunkelman, adding it was confusing and hard to navigate.
“It wasn’t clear it was real-time…I wasn’t overly impressed.”
Dunkelman creates apps as a hobby and hopes he’ll have one ready to go for Apple in early April.
His design will display predicted times and can be refreshed.
Keeping his kids in mind since they use the bus, he’s trying to “make the experience as good as possible.”
And Dunkelman’s app will be free.
“Apple users tend to not download anything that’s not free,” said Dunkelman.
-with files from Jon Willing
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
OCTranspo, now screwing Ottawans’ schedules in new and innovative ways “new #octranspo app available on iTunes” (@Liz_Jarvis)
#OCTranspo app is rather like their buses. Data can be delayed for long periods and it’s crashed twice. (@clivepacker)
No Android version of the new #OCTranspo GPS tracking application. Should have known this would be half-assed. (@phillbott)
Real time GPS #OCTranspo is good on the 122 route gives only gps reading one way even when you go both direction (@Dattan78)
I can’t be the only one amused that BlackBerry is last on the #OCTranspo app to-do list? (@DallanInvictus)
Excuse me? The #octranspo app doesn’t sort a route’s bus stops in the order that a bus would take arrive at them? (@risendevil)