Saturday, December 13, 2008

Finding Your Stop Number

Back in the summer of 2006, I developed an early version of OneBusAway that was basically a phone interface to http://mybus.org. It was an interesting proof of concept, but kind of a pain to use because you still had to know your MyBus timepoint ID ahead of time if you wanted to get arrival info in the field.

Fast forward to early 2008 when someone mentioned to me that each Metro KC bus stop actually had the physical stop number printed on the posted schedule:

Stop Number Identification

It's definitely not exactly obvious, but it's there. With a unique id on each stop, it was now possible to build a system that could map that id into arrival info for the stop and would actually be useful in the field since you could now walk up to any stop and get arrival info. This led to the development of the OneBusAway real-time system as it exists today.

Fast forward again to the September Metro KC service revision. Due to a glitch in the printing of a lot of the posted schedules, the stop number was no longer visible or it was cut off completely. This definitely doesn't help the usability of OneBusAway, but there have been a few bright notes.

First, a commenter on the Bus Chick post about OneBusAway pointed out that all the bus shelters have the stop number painted in the upper left corner. True enough:

Metro KC Bus Shelters Include the Stop Number

Second, there is hope that some day Metro KC will roll out their new stop signs that more prominently feature the stop number:



Finally, OneBusAway stickers have magically started to appear at a few stops. I wonder where those came from. See this Orphan Road post for more info.

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