Do you have a city with an awesome mass transit app?
February 26, 2015 1:16 PM   Subscribe

I just read this comment, and thought this was AWESOME. But unfortunately, it kinda doesn't work. Does your city have an app (iOS preferable, but I can always get a cheap android phone to check it out), that has an AWESOME app for mass transit? Whats the app? "Real time tracker" is what I'm looking for (i think). It need not be awesome in terms of fonts, design, etc. I kinda just want it to be more than a list of schedules.

A friend and I have a dispute resolution process for really important arguments ("No, I'm pretty sure le petit wayne has crazier sex than drake", "there is nothing harder in the world than a brick", "If you weren't jewish, and I wasn't muslim, I'm pretty sure I could eat way more pork than you", "i bet we would have been way more popular with the ladies if we drank as undergrads", "'ashes to ashes' by tears for fears is way better than by david bowie", "there is nothing wrong with listening to one song on repeat for 6 hours", "i bet if i was genghis khan, I'd have more kids than if you were genghis khan"). It involves some random number generator or die roll.

So if we were arguing over say..."who would have been the 1976 strongest man of the year if we were alive?", I would give my arguments, he, his. We'd argue about it for a while. Then we would go and pick a random number from 1-6 each. Someone would roll a die. If my number came up first, then I would automatically be accepted as "the 1976 strongest man of the year".

I think a better way to resolve these important disputes would be by seeing who can be closer to what time a bus ends up at a certain place. Or if its on time, or something like that. It would be pretty rad to have these things based that rather than rolling a die.

So please hook us up with some awesome public transport apps that would help us out here.

The best friend Tesla never had
posted by hal_c_on to Computers & Internet (27 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Seattle has One Bus Away.
posted by egypturnash at 1:20 PM on February 26, 2015 [5 favorites]

Pittsburgh has this:

I use the PAT Finder app, which isn't officially sanctioned butuses data from the TrueTime site. It's much easier to deal with on my iphone.
posted by punchtothehead at 1:25 PM on February 26, 2015

DC Metro has Next Bus, and it is based on the bus's location, not schedule. It has always worked well for me. The website even has a close-to-realtime map of the buses. You can use SMS or make a phone call to find out how far away a bus is. I'm sure there is an app for this too.
posted by alligatorman at 1:28 PM on February 26, 2015

Philly here. I use SEPTA Instant for Android which offers live bus and trolley tracking. I haven't used it but the official SEPTA app for iPhone and Android claims to offer the same thing.
posted by Diskeater at 1:30 PM on February 26, 2015

Portland, OR here. These don't include the official app (which also has arrival times.)
posted by bink at 1:36 PM on February 26, 2015

In Chicago I use FastTracker (I think) that's just one of many apps that accesses the CTA's own BusTracker(SM) data. Maybe you could work up something to access the API directly?
posted by travertina at 1:41 PM on February 26, 2015

I love this nerdy method of settling an argument. Could you do it with a flight tracker instead?
posted by notjustthefish at 1:50 PM on February 26, 2015

DC's Next Bus data is freely available, and some developers have made nicer apps with it. I personally really dig BusTrackDC.
posted by General Malaise at 1:52 PM on February 26, 2015

The comment you linked to is on a post about Transit App, which *does* work as you described, at least in many cities. So what is the "it" you speak of that doesn't work?
posted by acidic at 2:06 PM on February 26, 2015

"Real time tracker" is what I'm looking for

Melbourne has TramTracker which has realtime location of trams. (I gather they're installing GPS gear on the buses too, but seem to be messing it up).
posted by pompomtom at 2:07 PM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Chicago's data is pretty good I guess, because there are dozens of apps that do real time bus tracking. I've used:
HopStop, myTransit - CTA, Transit Stop, the RedEye (free daily newspaper) app actually had a transit tracker in it, and Transit Chatter which added the ability for idiots to complain about their commute and generally be racist assholes. There are many more (including TransitApp, from the post you linked).
posted by misskaz at 2:40 PM on February 26, 2015

In San Francisco I use the unfortunately-named Quicky. It used to have a different name. Works great if you can get past the name.
posted by gingerbeer at 3:15 PM on February 26, 2015

Several cities use NextBus. Here's a list:
posted by NikitaNikita at 3:47 PM on February 26, 2015

I use Offi, which has maps, trackers, trip planners and timetables for a bunch of different cities around the world.
posted by lollusc at 4:16 PM on February 26, 2015

Edinburgh's buses and trams have their own app. If you'd like to personalise your awesome dispute-resolution method with a little Mefite-on-board-ness, I'm generally to be found riding the no 10.
posted by penguin pie at 4:16 PM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

San Francisco also uses NextBus data. The "official" area-wide 511 app is awful, but since the data is open, I really like Routesy.
posted by radioamy at 4:20 PM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hong Kong!

Kowloon Motor Bus, Citybus, the MTR, and the Transport Department all have amazingly functional apps.
posted by mdonley at 5:26 PM on February 26, 2015

MARTA, the Atlanta transit system, has a pretty good MARTA On The Go app. It started out pretty crappy a couple years ago, and still has a few bugs and weird behaviors, but it does the job: provides live status of upcoming trains and bus positions. If you are in Atlanta, and you EVER ride MARTA, you need to get this app. ESPECIALLY if you already tried it once a year ago and thought it sucked. It's better now.
posted by intermod at 6:00 PM on February 26, 2015

Vancouver, BC has Live Transit Vancouver, which works really well!
posted by fullerenedream at 8:58 PM on February 26, 2015

If you were looking to meet new people, or confuse strangers, you could skip the app.
You and your friend pick Odd and Even on a standing basis - you're Even, he's Odd.
When you need a decision as to who's right, ask a passerby what time it is.
11:32? You win. 11:37? HaHa, Loser!

Nobody around? How much money do you both have in your pockets? What's the temperature? How many matches are in the box? When in doubt, ask the Odd/Even gods.
posted by bartleby at 10:47 PM on February 26, 2015

Portland has PDX Bus, which is awesome. And award-winning, apparently.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 12:16 AM on February 27, 2015

Check out the site for Gainesville, FL. Real time bus tracking: Go RTS
posted by newsomz at 4:04 AM on February 27, 2015

SBB has an app that not only finds you connections from anywhere in Switzerland to anywhere else using trains, trams, buses and underground trains, it also informs you of platform changes, delays and suggests how crowded the service will be and how long it should take you to walk from the platform to the bus stop or whatever, pretty much real time
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:27 AM on February 27, 2015

Citymapper! London, New York, Paris, Berlin, Washington DC, Madrid, Boston, Barcelona, SF Bay Area, Chicago, Milan, Rome, México DF, Manchester, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Tokyo...
posted by corvine at 5:19 AM on February 27, 2015

There's also Live Tube Tracker which has live maps of London tube trains. London has been on a massive public transport open data kick lately and it is awesome for this.
posted by corvine at 5:29 AM on February 27, 2015

As mentioned above, I have used NextBus in multiple cities and it's great.
posted by rainbowbrite at 10:32 AM on February 27, 2015

Transit (the app mentioned by the OP) is definitely the gold standard when it comes to public transportation apps. However, Citymapper is great for when there's data. Also, a plug for my first foray into app development: a client for Pittsburgh's bus data.
posted by redct at 4:12 PM on February 27, 2015

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