TransLink: priorities?

In case you haven’t heard, TransLink trip planning is now a part of the Google Transit beta app. It’s the only Canadian transit system partipating so far, no less. Well forgive me for not giving TransLink a big pat on the back. I don’t know how much effort has gone into making their scheduling data available to Google, but as long as we still don’t have a proper tool for accessing transit schedules and other information from mobile devices it’s too much.

Is it unreasonable to want to be able to bring up a page on my web-enabled device – likely a cellphone – and enter a route number and stop number to find out when the next bus will be? Let me answer that as both a developer and a paying customer: no. And yet, customers have been left standing at the curb (literally) when it comes to planning their transit use via mobile device. Some ingenious (and presumably fed-up) users have hacked together their own solutions, but they’re not exactly the most effective ones.

With any kind of luck, the Google Transit system will soon be available to use with the Google Maps for Mobile application. Until then, we’re stuck with the frustrating voice system if we need to look up schedules anywhere but on a PC.


  1. Paul Hillsdon

    November 11, 2007 at 12:33 am

    I feel your pain. This exact issue has frustrated me so much. However, we do have to take into account that the number of people currently using the web on cellphones is rather low, at least in Vancouver. That’s not an excuse though.

    They did make a slight improvement by adding number to all stops and throwing together that automated call centre. There’s also that third-party system developed by QuickMobile, called TextBus, where you text your stop number and then receive the next few buses over SMS. They’ve even developed a cool Facebook app called MyBus, in which you can favourite specific stops and routes, for use with the TextBus system. It’s really very stupid that it required a private company to develop this – TransLink should’ve already had it in place.

    I am delightled however to let you know that TransLink does have something coming very soon that, hopefully, if done well, will fix this mobile web problem that we both face.


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