In a post on Sunday, I attempted to explain why OneBusAway service had been spotty ever since the King County Metro services changes on Saturday, February 6th. That explanation put a lot of the blame on the MyBus service, which provides the AVL feed used by OneBusAway. One of the MyBus maintainers took serious exception with me placing all the blame on them, and rightly so.
MyBus started as a research project at UW over a decade ago by EE Professor Dan Dailey. Dan and a couple of his associates have been keeping MyBus running ever since on their own time without any compensation and without much thanks. Without their work, we wouldn't have any real-time tracking information for King County buses and we wouldn't have tools like OneBusAway. I'm grateful for their work and I apologize for suggesting that they care any less about improving public transit for King County riders.
My bigger issue is that tools like MyBus and OneBusAway are increasingly services that King County transit riders depend on every day to use the bus. When OneBusAway has issues, I hear about it. Heck, I'm a OneBusAway user myself. When OneBusAway is down, I barely remember how to get home. [Also my wife hassles me]
One of the points I was trying to make in my original post is that Metro has an internal AVL feed that is (in my understanding) very similar to the one maintained by MyBus, with the exception that they have staff paid to keep it up to date with the latest schedule data. If that data was exposed to developers like me, there would be less downtime for users of systems like OneBusAway. Of course, Metro has their own reasons for not exposing the feed, one of which is that they have limited resources themselves.
Nobody is getting rich providing real-time arrival information for King County buses, but a lot of riders are finding it much easier to ride the bus when we do. As long as that's the case, I'll keep fighting to provide services like OneBusAway and I appreciate the efforts of the MyBus staff and staff at King County Metro who help make it all possible.