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January 6, 2010 | 9 Comments

Review St. Louis Transit Apps for iPhone and Other Smartphones

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In the not-too-distant past, if you wanted to figure out when the bus was coming, you had to carry a paper schedule.  Now we have smartphones. Thanks to the combination of the third-party software development kit for iPhones and open data feeds from transit agencies, developers across the world have created unique and functional transit applications for the iPhone.  These apps range from the highly useful schedule information and bus tracking to the more playful, including an app that wakes you before your transit stop. Blackberry and Android developers are in on the game as well, and we hope to see more apps developed for St. Louis for these platforms.

Here’s where our St. Louis transit riders come in: We want your reviews of St. Louis transit apps.  You are on the system riding … how do you rate the transit apps available for St. Louis?

1. Review according to ease of use, functionality, accuracy, and overall look.

2. Rate each app on a five-star rating index.

3. Give suggestions for improvements or better use.

Your reviews will help us identify the most useful transit apps for smartphones to highlight on the new Metro website, coming this spring. Use the widget below to find out which transit apps are available for St. Louis on City-Go-Round

If you are interested in developing an app for St. Louis transit, Metro’s open data feed can be found on the GTFS Data Exchange.

UPDATE: Send reviews via email to blog@nextstopstl.org or leave in comments by February 1, 2010.

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9 thoughts on “Review St. Louis Transit Apps for iPhone and Other Smartphones”

  1. Cheryl says:

    I love using my iphone to get transit directions with google maps. The only problem is that all the routes are not accurate with google maps. For example, some routes from University City Library to Pershing @ Union, as an example, tell me to take the green line and get off at Hoyt @ Brookings Drive. Then to catch the #1 at that location. Unfortunately, the #1 does not go by this location anymore. I learned this the hard way by following these directions.

    So, tech solutions are useless if the route information is not correct. By the way, trip finder does not give this wrong route, and using Google maps on my PC gives the same wrong information, since it feeds off the same data.

    I don’t know what other routes are affected. This should be a high priority to fix. Is this a google issue or a Metro issue? I have reported it to Metro, probably two months ago.

    1. Courtney says:

      Cheryl,

      Great catch. This is the kind of information we want to know about the data feed and its applications for smartphones. I will forward your comment onto the planning department to see about getting this corrected.

      1. Courtney says:

        Cheryl,

        I checked with our planning department, and the #1 stop at Hoyt@Brookings is now back in place as of last week. It was temporarily rerouted during the highway closure because the intersection of Skinker and Forest Park was so jammed up. Let us know if you do not see buses stopping at that location; I can follow up with Bus Operations as well. But thank you for the catch, because its important to make sure changes are communicated to customers, including via Google. Please let us know if you find other inconsistencies.

  2. Mike Baldwin says:

    I love and I have written about the Google Maps app and Metro, on my blog. I wouldn’t be riding the bus without the app. It demystifies the ridiculous names and numbers for the routes, i.e. Soulard route is in Soulard for about 2 minutes. The misnamed routes are the problem with wider acceptance of the bus as a viable form of transportation. No one knows where they will end up unless they are regular riders. Without Google Maps, I would be at a loss. That is why the MetroLink is popular and the buses are not, with commuters from certain demographics. The MetroLink is a simple route, no confusion–I know where I am going.

    I am always giving route information to other riders without an Iphone.

    The other transit apps, don’t seem to currently apply to Saint Louis, except for walking per se.

    There are apps for specific cities all over Itunes. I have used many of them in other cities where they apply. Google still beats them all.

  3. Cheryl says:

    Regarding the #1 being rerouted back to pass by Hoyt @ Brookings. The pdf map and turning directions do not show this change. I had checked there to be sure before posting my comment. Those pdfs still show the bus going down Forsyth to Skinker. So, we still have conflicting information. The user can’t know which is correct.

    1. Courtney says:

      Good eye. I will have the map updated with the planning department tomorrow morning (after I trudge through the snow!) Safe travels tonight!

  4. Courtney says:

    I sent an email to the developer of UniBus and petitioned that he include St. Louis data for his application. We’ll see if he is responsive.

  5. Courtney says:

    Cheryl,

    Both the #1 and #2 route maps have been updated with the Hoyt @ Brookings Drive stop, and I checked Google Transit and the stops have been included as well. Thanks for your input! Thanks to you, the information was fixed and the correct info is available to riders.

  6. Cheryl says:

    Courtney, Thanks a lot for following up with this.

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