TransLink’s iPhone web application has been out for a while, but since it launched before the blog, I never really got a chance to spotlight it here – until now!
In case you haven’t seen it, just point your iPhone to m.translink.ca. You’ll reach a lovely mobile site where you can access transit info on the go. There’s schedules and maps for all TransLink services, a yellow bar at the top with details on any major service disruptions, and full Metro Vancouver transit maps (just tilt your iPhone sideways).
And you can also access this site from other mobile devices—it’s just optimized for iPhone customers.
I talked to Igor Faletski from Handi Mobility about the development behind the iPhone app and what’s next for it, as well as a bit about his company. Handi Mobility is the company who developed the iPhone application for us, as well as the Next Bus SMS tool and our Facebook application.
|(Click the photos above for larger versions)|
How did you get involved with TransLink?
It was in February of 2007 when John Boxall and I made our first system for getting transit schedules on mobile phones. The inspiration behind it was the fact that we kept missing our bus up to SFU. We were in our final year of Computing Science there and when we graduated shortly afterwards Handi Mobility was formed. TransLink became interested, and after a while they got to work with us on some projects. That first system evolved into the Next Bus text service. Later on, we also developed the Facebook application for TransLink and a mobile website.
Why did you think of developing a TransLink application for the iPhone?
Our company is focused on mobile internet and its applications. We were just waiting for the day that Vancouver could get affordable data rates so more people could access our services. Then the iPhone launched, had affordable rates, and provided a rich visual experience. Put together, we needed to make sure TransLink could get to that audience.
How popular are the TransLink mobile services you provide?
In terms of actual statistics, Next Bus SMS serves up to 16,000 text messages a day. When we launched the iPhone portal, traffic to that application grew 300 percent in one month. There are more than 1000 users on it every day and the number keeps growing.
What’s next for the iPhone application?
In early November, a version will be available through the iPhone app store. A key feature that we will be adding is location awareness. Just by starting the app, you can find bus stops close to you and eventually, be directed to them through Google Maps. One of our goals is helping to create a community around public transit. To address that, we will provide access to the Buzzer blog, so riders can comment and socialize.
If you have any feedback or feature requests on the TransLink iPhone app, feel free to add your comments below or e-mail Handi Mobility at email@example.com. I’ll be sure to update the blog with any news about the app as we go forward!