I'm also a little scared because multi-agency support means a new codebase (and new bugs) along with some subtle changes in how you interact with OneBusAway. The biggest change is that since there are no longer just King County routes in OneBusAway, some things are not so simple. When you search for "route #1", did you mean the one for King County Metro or for Pierce Transit or possibly for some other agency we add in the future? Most of the changes deal with making sure you get information tailored to your needs.
What kind of specific changes am I talking about?
If you are using the iPhone or Android app, the good news is that there are no changes at all. These apps were designed with multi-agency support from the start. You should just start seeing Pierce Transit stops and routes showing up in your searches.
If you are using any of the web interfaces (standard, mobile, or text-only), there are two big changes:
- The form of stop urls have slightly changed because stop ids now have an agency prefix. We will automatically detect the old style of url and redirect you to the appropriate new url with a quick message explaining that you should update your bookmarks.
- We remember a default search area for each user. Similar to how Google Maps remembers your default search location, we remember your search area and return routes and stops appropriate to you when you perform a search. We chose to go with a default search location, as opposed to a default transit agency, since most of the local agencies have overlapping service coverage and many users ride routes from multiple agencies over the course of a day.
The phone and SMS interfaces have been similarly changed to support a default search location. The first time you use the system, you will be prompted to enter your zip code so that we can provide results appropriate to your area.
The default search location is tied to a new user preferences system that will be the basis for a number of interesting new features for OneBusAway. In the future, I'm hoping to have synchronized stop bookmarks and route preferences across all the OneBusAway interfaces, as well as customized notifications and alerts.
Of course, I understand that some users may not be comfortable with OneBusAway storing personal preferences like their default search locations. As such, I've made it easy to reset your preferences or to opt out completely if you wish. OneBusAway will work just the same; you may just have to provide a little more information when doing searches for new routes and stops in the future.
All in all, these are some major changes to the site. If you run into any issues with the transition, definitely let us know. We are committed to making it easier to take public transit and we think the new features we're providing will help with that goal.
Thanks again to all the staff at Pierce Transit who were involved in making their schedule and real-time information available.