What are the best schedules for ac transit?
April 8, 2013 9:58 AM   Subscribe

Google maps and 511 were inaccurate for oakland's ac transit this morning. What service should I use for an accurate schedule?

I was trying to catch the 1 or 1r north this morning at 49th and telegraph around 8:45am. According to google and 511 there should have been buses around 845 850 and 900, but the first bus came at 910. I have to take the same bus back this afternoon, and I'm trying to avoid another half hour wait outside.

1. Are the google and 511 schedules outdated? If so, where should I go for up-to-date schedules?
2. If those schedules are up-to-date, how in the future can I avoid waiting for a bus that never comes? Are the real-time arrivals reliable, for example? Should I give up on ac transit and just use bart, even if it involves more walking?
posted by crazy with stars to Travel & Transportation around Oakland, CA (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: AC Transit has real-time schedules on their site, and you can use nextbus to look them up as well. I suspect that google et al. pull data from AC Transit, so it would have been inaccurate no matter where you looked. Sometimes there are just glitches in the system.
posted by rtha at 10:03 AM on April 8, 2013

Is it possible the bad weather (high winds, etc) messed up the schedule? I have no idea how that would happen, but it's just a thought.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:12 AM on April 8, 2013

You want nextbus. Google and 511 suffer because too often the buses aren't on schedule due to a variety of reasons. Google is working on a real time feed, but it's not ready for prime time yet.
posted by kendrak at 10:15 AM on April 8, 2013

Google and 511 get their data straight from the transit agency so I doubt there's a better feed available. Basically busses don't always manage to follow the published schedules.
posted by GuyZero at 10:26 AM on April 8, 2013

Agreed that realtime (provided to AC Transit by NextBus) is the only way to go. I use YourBus AC Transit (for Android) and it works great to accurately predict arrival times. You can also just use nextbus.com.
posted by quarterframer at 10:27 AM on April 8, 2013

Nextbus, at least those signs in the bus shelters, is often wrong. Really, really wrong. Sadly, every time I've called 511 to get a second opinion, I've received the same information from them. AC Transit is famous for late buses, it's part of the charm (ha). When Nextbus works, it's great. When it doesn't (and that's often) it sucks.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 6:48 PM on April 8, 2013

In my experience as an Oaklander, aside from the "your GPS location accurate to 2580 yards" nonsense, NextBus is fairly accurate as far as predicting arrival times. You can't cut it too close (it takes me 3 minutes to get to the nearest 40 stop, so I make sure to leave home when there are at least 6 minutes showing on NextBus's estimate), but it's been some time since I've been left standing at a stop glaring at my phone and muttering "WTF NextBus!?"
posted by Lexica at 8:17 PM on April 8, 2013

I've found that NextBus for AC Transit can be inaccurate right at the beginning of a route, but is generally accurate within 3 minutes either way once you're further along. Also it's more likely to err on the side of not showing a bus that's en route than it is to show a phantom bus in N minutes. Again, at the beginning of a route all bets are off.
posted by expialidocious at 10:17 PM on April 8, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks all. Looks like NextBus is the answer!
posted by crazy with stars at 8:22 PM on April 11, 2013

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