Trip planning on the go

Earlier today, I received a press release about Metro Mobile, a new, phone-friendly version of KC Metro’s Trip Planner created by benevolent bus rider Nicholas Barnard. I tried the tool for a few sample trips, and it works pretty well—at least, as well as can be expected on my somewhat bootleg phone.

The site lets you select from a list of default locations (libraries, the airport, et cetera). It also lets you set custom locations. Unfortunately, it doesn’t verify the locations before it saves them. I saved my home address, but when I tried to use it, I got that fun Metro page that asks you to select the correct address from a list of six possibilities, including the exact address you entered. It would be nice to be able to (re)select the correct address once and never have to see that page again. (Hey Metro, can we get that on the original Trip Planner, too?)

According to the press release, MM has a GPS feature that can detect your current location, but I couldn’t find it. Perhaps I need a fancier phone.

Even without address checking and GPS, Metro Mobile is a useful tool. I’ll definitely be using it in the real world.

Thanks, Nick!

This entry was posted in transit technology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Trip planning on the go

  1. SeattleBrad says:

    Thanks for sharing. The GPS feature is activated by selecting “Current Location” in the list.

  2. BC you hit the lack of GPS right on the head. If your phone doesn’t support the spec that allows a web browser to get your location the GPS feature will be hidden.

    It’s funny but metro mobile has it’s genesis in the fun metro page where you need to select addresses. My house doesn’t look up on the address alone, and neither did my boyfriend’s at the time I thought of this. Instead, I store the intersection closest to my house, and metro works off tha like a charm.

    It’s likely that I’ll be checking addresses in the future before they’re saved, but that will take a whole lot more work.

    I’ll add both these tips to the FAQ.

    Thank you for reviewing metro mobile.

    • BusChick says:

      Thanks for responding, Nicholas.

      The intersection thing is my workaround, too. (It was actually the workaround that the folks at Metro sent me a few years ago when I sent an e-mail asking how I could avoid the error.)

      I definitely get how much work it is for a change like that (am married to a software engineer who is working on a bus-related tool in his spare time), and I appreciate how much work you’ve already done (for free!). MM will definitely make my life easier.

  3. sb says:

    It would be nice if didn’t require the use of javascript.

    On my (not all that old) device I keep javascript off on the web browser. If I try to use metromobile with JS off, then I get a “You have forgotten to enter an origin” message on the kingcounty.gov page.

    It does work if I have JS on though. However, the “additional options” link doesn’t work even with JS on.

    The customized list is a nice feature, but I think I’ll just stick with the regular kingcounty.gov input page since it works without javascript.

  4. @sb yes Javascript is required. Given the design restraints it was needed.

    I could see making a non javascript version, but many pieces would be gone including: the ability to save locations, the time as one pulldown instead of three, and a few other things. I’d be interesting in knowing what device you’re using and having problems with on the additional options link, as its all pretty standard javascript.

    • stinkbug says:

      I’m using a Sidekick (LX ’09). Yes, not one of the current and hip smartphones, but it works pretty well for the things I use it for (including onebusaway’s where/text/ format and the regular trip planner on the kc site).