Thursday, October 7, 2010

Help Report Data Issues Directly from Your IPhone

Every schedule update from our local transit agencies brings changes and, invariably, errors. I don't fault the agencies for that, since managing a fleet of hundreds of buses across thousands of stops is a complex task.

However, we as riders have a unique opportunity to help find and fix the errors we encounter on a day-to-day basis with the systems we use. Who else better to find the bugs with bus schedules than riders? While OneBusAway has always had multiple ways that you can use to contact us when you have problems, we want to make it even easier.

In the recent 1.1.0 update to the OneBusAway iPhone app, we've added in-app problem reporting. You can submit issues about stops, buses, routes, and real-time arrival errors. When you submit from within the app, it adds valuable context information about time, location, stops, and trips that help me debug these problems on the back end.

How do you report a problem? Look for the "Report a Problem" button when looking at arrival information for a stop:

From there, you can report issues about a stop or a specific bus. When it comes to issues with the real-time arrival information, it would be great if you could submit a problem every time you have an issue (up to a week's worth of reports), as it will help me separate one-time problems from recurring problems that need the full attention of the agency.

I hope that these tools will make it easier for you to identify problems and faster for us to fix them. We hope to expand this functionality to our other mobile apps as well.

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