Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Adding Community Transit to OneBusAway

We are often asked when we'll be adding Community Transit (CT) to OneBusAway. The answer is a little complex:

CT doesn't currently have GPS on their buses. They are piloting a project hopefully starting sometime in 2010 or 2011 to start adding tracking capabilities to their fleet. So, it could well be years before the fleet has tracking capabilities. Therefore, there won't be real-time tracking for CT, in OneBusAway or otherwise, in the near future.

It is possible for us to add CT's static schedule data to OneBusAway. You wouldn't know if the bus was late or early, but you would be able to see the scheduled arrivals by stop in the OneBusAway format that you are used to. However, given the current budget constraints, CT has had significant IT cuts and is strapped for time to add new endeavours to their plate.

That said, if you'd like to see static schedule data for CT in OneBusAway, the best bet is to send CT an e-mail to let them know that this is a priority for you at riders@commtrans.org.

Are there other agencies you would like to see added to OneBusAway? We can't make any promises yet, but let us know and we'll add them to the list to start looking into.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Bleeding Edge: Help Test New Features

I've been hard at work on some new features that will hopefully make life easier for users of the OneBusAway phone and SMS interfaces, along with laying the foundation for some exciting new features to come.

But before I tell you exactly what's new, I'll warn you that the new features are beta enough that they can't be found on the main OneBusAway website, phone-number, or SMS interface. I'm looking for people to try out the new features and find the bugs before we go live for everyone. If you are feeling brave, read on for more info.

So what's new?
  • User accounts: you can now login to OneBusAway
  • Bookmarks: manage your phone and SMS bookmarks from the web
Let's break it down. You've probably noticed the "Settings" link up on the nav bar, where you can currently set your privacy and search settings. We've added Registration and Login buttons where you can login to your account and transfer your settings between computers.

Once you've logged in, you'll notice some additional links on your settings page, including the ability to register a phone number with your account and manage your bookmarks. The best part is that once you've registered your phone number, managing your bookmarks online will also update your bookmarks on your phone and SMS.

The bookmarks feature is neat because it let's you setup bookmarks with:
  • multiple stops
  • custom bookmark names
  • route filters
This can be especially useful for the phone and SMS interfaces, where space and bandwidth are tight and you really want to limit the information you see from OneBusAway.

Sound cool? Want to try it out? Great! The trick is to use the following:
  • Instead of onebusaway.org, use http://soak.onebusaway.org/
  • Instead of calling 206-456-0609, call 253-802-0126
  • Instead of texting with keyword "onebus", use keyword "twobus"
Give a shot and let me know what you think by emailing contact@onebusaway.org. Thanks!