Translink Buzzer Blog

We’re fixing our mobile site

The new TransLink mobile platform...for now

The new TransLink mobile platform...for now

Many of you have told us that our mobile site is in need of a facelift. Yes, we know we’re not going to win any awards for the current design. Well, we are very happy to report that upgrades are coming on May 25!

We had been planning on doing a complete revamp of both the application (iPhone, Android and BlackBerry) and the mobile site to go live later this summer, but it’s become clear that’s not good enough. The current iPhone app and the mobile site are delivering inaccurate information to customers, so we’re going to upgrade the m.translink.ca site and move it to a new platform.

The good news is that you will have:

• Immediate access to our most current information
• Increased functionality over the current site
• Better access to schedule information
• Better access to Next Bus information
• Access to Trip Planning functionality
• Access to up-to-date alerts that pertain to your trip

That said, the user interface on the new platform is going to be quite basic – because time is of the essence on these improvements, we opted to focus on speed and accuracy of information. Our plan is to improve the mobile interface and functionality over the next few months before launching new iPhone, Android and BlackBerry apps.

Speaking of apps, unfortunately, there’s no Buzzer Blog link on the new interface, but there will be one on the app we release in the months to come! This will be especially important for those with iPhones who make up 92% of our mobile site users! We WILL have a Buzzer link on the upgraded site. Hooray! This is good news for iPhone user of which the existing app also has a link to the buzzer. Incidentally, iPhone user make up 92% of all mobile site users.

Depending on your mobile service provider, it may be a day or so before you see the new mobile site, so thanks in advance for being patient!

The new site will be a big improvement, but it won’t be perfect, which is why we need your feedback over the coming weeks and months – please tell us what you like, don’t like, want to see, etc. We want the new site (and apps) to be useful, useable tools, and we need your input to make them great.

Next week, we’ll be building on the feedback you gave us in December last year. I’ll have a Friday Fun poll next week that will ask you which of a handful of options you’ll want for the future app.

How the TransLink mobile site (m.translink.ca) looks like today on BlackBerry and iPhone


70 Comments

  • By ;-), May 23, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

    In full honesty, the current text based mobile site works perfectly for maximum speed. I hope this interface is kept in the future for EDGE and EVDO customers.

    There’s just one complaint…. fix the stupid clock…. it’s consistently running 8 to 10 minutes slow for years.

  • By Meraki, May 25, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

    Today I opened my TransLink app and was horrified to see what’s been done to it.

    You’ve taken something that worked well and replaced it with something less useful and more cumbersome to use.

    1. Favourite stops are now gone. Before I had access to the next bus times for various stops all displayed on the home screen. One tap on the ‘TransLink’ app and I had the information.

    2. Getting information now takes many more steps than before (if you can get it at all.)

    Previously, on immediately starting the app I could type in a stop number or route and press enter, and the app would give me the information I wanted. One step.

    You’ve moved what I imagine is the most used feature (next bus) to a secondary page, in addition to being required to scroll down on iPhone to press ‘next bus’

    For schedules, previously I would type in a route number and press enter. Tap the route, tap the direction, and be delivered a well presented schedule table, which I could use to find a stop that I’m looking for (as your stop finder isn’t the greatest)

    The way it presented the data means I could also see how long it takes to get from A to B, based on the departure time at my destination stop.

    With this new app, I tap ‘Schedules’ (then scroll down), enter my route (then scroll down), tap next (and then scroll down) where I finally get to choose my stop.

    The app then presents me first a full screen of text I don’t really care about (let’s scroll down. see the pattern?) and then I get a list of all departures from now until 4:30am.

    The format it’s presented in doesn’t allow me to figure out the travel time, or view the departure times for multiple stops at once like the old app did.

    I know you meant well with this change, but what you’ve given us is just a reduced-images version of the normal translink.ca site, which fails to understand that mobile users want the information presented at their fingertips with as little tapping/scrolling as possible.

    If the data I’m trying to get is 6 page loads and multiple swipes away, I’m just going to use something faster, such as the 33333 SMS service.

  • By Meraki, May 25, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

    I attempted to send this using the feedback form, but it has a limit of 2000 characters.

  • By Meraki, May 25, 2011 @ 6:05 pm

    Another now gone feature I forgot to mention (and use daily)

    Previously, you could pass a stop number in a url to the site

    for example: http://m.translink.ca/search/?q=

    adding the stop number after the = in the url. This allowed Google Chrome and Firefox to quickly present bus times in your browser.

    For example, I had the keyword search set up as ‘bus’ so to find the next times for stop 51042, all I had to do is type ‘bus 51042′ into my browser and hit enter.

    Since my carrier (WIND) charges 15c to send a message to 33333, I’m basically left with no options now to quickly access the bus information I need.

  • By Peter Kieser, May 25, 2011 @ 7:00 pm

    Couldn’t agree more with Meraki. The old mobile site was way better, and worked nicely on EDGE. This new one isn’t, takes way too many page loads to get anything done.

    Not to mention you could bookmark stops, you can’t do that with the new one!

  • By Joe, May 26, 2011 @ 12:21 am

    It’s basically unusable without the favourite stops feature. It was the only reason I used it. Heck, I don’t even know what the stop numbers by my house are!

  • By Jane, May 26, 2011 @ 10:20 am

    There was nothing wrong with the previous one. This one just opens a web browser and goes to the website which makes the app useless. It doesn’t even use the GPS to find where you are.

    I liked that I could just open the app and it would tell me where the nearest bus stop was and when it was coming. I didn’t have to search anything. I’ll probably end up deleting it.

  • By Alan, May 26, 2011 @ 10:28 am

    Too true. Used to be I could use the app and get where and when I wanted.
    I know there is an improved app coming but not for a while.
    Until then …

  • By Bonn Coyuco, May 26, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

    There was nothing wrong with the old interface, it worked quite well and was very efficient for quick referencing. The most powerful feature it had was the favourite stops which gives one an overview of all bus stops saved at a glance. The new interface takes longer to load, and requires a gazillion of steps just to get information on a single stop – way inferior compared to the old interface. I implore the folks in charge of this to please revert to the old interface.. why fix something that is not broken??

  • By Dave, May 26, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

    I agree with the other commenters. I loaded my app to see what buses were stopping at my stop (I have 3 choices depending on time). Now I can’t do that I can only see 1 bus at a time or only a small window (time) that shows me all the buses stopping at my stop (within the hour). I used to be able to see over a 3 or 4 hour window.

  • By Dave, May 26, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

    I need to add as well that the form data is reset when you reopen the browser so you have to re-enter all your data again. I was able to just “reload” the page and leave it bookmarked in my phone.
    here’s the link I used to use m.translink.ca/route/XXX/direction/east/stop (XXX = route).
    Now that link just redirects me to tripplanning.translink.ca/

    Please don’t remove functionality.

  • By ???, May 26, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

    The changes makes me want to drive my car more often.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, May 26, 2011 @ 5:42 pm

    This reminds me of their Twitter account. It was working fine, and then they decided to add a whole bunch of useless spammy announcements that rendered the updates almost unusable.

    Why can’t Translink make good things, and then just leave them?

  • By KaranM, May 27, 2011 @ 12:24 am

    Sorry, but compared to the previous iPhone friendly page, the current page is HORRIBLE. The use of iPhone GPS for surrounding stops and more importantly the \My Stops\ feature being completely dropped are a major loss and make the site/app pretty useless for me. The Next Bus tab being the most useful feature of the new site to partially replace the My Stop feature is a click away at the minimum and doesn’t provide the quick info I need at a glance when planning my trip home or to work.
    There was nothing broken with the previous version as it related to those 2 features. Bring them back while you work on updating the site and making it pretty again.

  • By Erwin, May 27, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

    Okay, we really need the favourite stops feature back on or a way to bookmark them. The new mobile site is also horribly slow for blackberries. If it aint broke, dont fix it. You could have just made some minor changes to the mobile blackberry site.

  • By Victor, May 27, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

    I agree with Peter Kieser and Erwin, being able to bookmark stops was a great feature and now it’s gone.

  • By ;-), May 27, 2011 @ 10:37 pm

    Please bring back the old mobile site. We need a proper focus design group to build a proper system. What I see here is designers not listening to the users (ie the customers), for something that doesn’t cost them any more money. Other than this forum, is there anyplace to send our complaints?

    The previous designers should be awarded for delivering a simple text based system that was fast with little fluff to rack up our wireless charges. The new designers should be fired for forcing with unnecessary keystrokes and bandwidth to get to the information we need.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, May 27, 2011 @ 11:01 pm

    Does anybody know how easy it is to start a grassroots movement to create a mobile site like the old site?

  • By Herwin Gill, May 28, 2011 @ 7:12 am

    Complete Fail

    Though I don’t have an iPhone, I used to use the iPhone mobile site – and it was excellent. Everything I needed within 30 seconds. Now, now favorites/starred stops or quick access to bus times.

    You’ve turned the mobile site into a “lite” website. The better option would have been reading the iPhone version for access on all phones (which it was if you popped in the right URL).

    Have you consider leaving the old versions up as legacy mobile sites? (as long as the back end, i.e. bus times, will continue being updated).

    I’m sure this was an informed direction, but really? What were the people in the focus groups thinking? What feedback did you get from user acceptance testing?

  • By Cody, May 28, 2011 @ 10:27 am

    What you’ve done here is ask for features and assumed that that is the be all and end all. This is a 1990′s approach to software development that assumes that great “features” will deliver great benefits. UI is incredibly important, and that is what the old site had.

    The approach to releasing the site “over the coming months” is also an unfortunate approach. You’re going to temporarily drive people away from the site who aren’t reading this blog post instead of introducing the new one to those who wish to test it and running them in parallel.

    Give us our old site back and build on it, don’t start from scratch.

  • By Don, May 28, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

    What have you done? Am I expected to memorize my favorite: bus stop numbers now?

  • By Steven, May 28, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

    I had 30+ bookmarks on my blackberry of all the stops I go to which, thanks to this upgrade, is completely useless. I cannot save the next bus results in your newly designed site.

    For me this is not an upgrade, its a downgrade, and the worst bit of project management/UX I have seen in years. The least you, or the company you have hired to design this, is keep the old system and have the new one as version 2 beta – run them in parallel, and get customer feedback as you move along with the project.

    I am surprised no one from Translink has responded here to the complaints.

  • By Meraki, May 28, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

    I sent my same complaints above using the ‘Give Feedback’ at the bottom of the page.

    I received a canned response “Thank you for your feedback, please refer to [this blog post] for more information.”

    Well almost canned, as they got my name incorrect on the reply, though my message was quoted right below.

    I’m not impressed with how this has been handled so far.

  • By Steven, May 28, 2011 @ 11:58 pm

    It seems their argument is that the information results displayed on iPhone’s, in the old system, were incorrect. As a result they decided to take the whole system down and replace it with a partially developed system with the finished product coming in the summer, this would include the components that we love from the old version – but maybe structured differently.

    Personally I would have kept the old system and state that its good for blackberry users, who don’t appear to be affected by the information difficulty, and have a link for iPhone users to go to the new partially developed site…and call it a beta.

    Also from my perspective there was a slight communication breakdown from Translink because I never found out about the replacement system until Thursday when I was struggling to find times on my blackberry of a bus stop I had bookmarked. I couldn’t understand what was going on, I tweeted translink to see if there system was down but never got a response. There is no explanitory note on the new system to explain to customers what the changes are.

    At the end of the day its not really a big deal, just an annoyance. I can still find out bus times from stops but its just more fiddly than it was before and I can’t bookmark them. My philosophy though is don’t take anything away from customers unless you have something pretty cool to replace it with – and this didn’t happen on this occasion. However, this is the only public transport network I have been on, in Vancouver, that has this system, which is pretty impressive for Canada and Translink.

  • By Peter Kieser, May 29, 2011 @ 12:01 am

    Seriously, what was wrong with m.translink.ca – It was HTML, worked in every browser (even on the computer.)

    Now everyone is forced to use the horrid trip scheduler site. I like how TransLink has been silent on Twitter, as well as the Buzzer blog.

  • By Sonia, May 29, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

    I agree with Meraki. All you had to do was tap on the app and all my favorite stops were listed within a few seconds. That’s the whole reason I even used the app. When I’m running out the door, I want to which one of the two buses I can take is going to come first. I can’t nor do I want to stand there entering information into the tripplanner when I previously had a perfectly usable app that allowed me to compare multiple stops on the same screen. Please bring the old app back until you create a “better” one. Don’t fix a feature that’s not broken and is infact the best thing about the app.

  • By tim, May 30, 2011 @ 8:00 am

    Putting trip planning on the home page doesn’t seem very useful at all, since the Google Maps app already does it much better on the platforms driving most of the traffic to your site :) If I were you, I’d take a quick look at the analytics and change the landing page to wherever people are really trying to go.

  • By nescient, May 30, 2011 @ 8:43 am

    If you are creating an app for Android, please create an app that supports Android OS 1.5 (Cupcake). =)

  • By Jon Jennings, May 30, 2011 @ 11:42 am

    I almost liked the old mobile site – it was fast, simple and gave me the data I needed.

    Now I can’t even get to the new page to see what everybody’s complaining about. Whenever I try to go to http://m.translink.ca/ it redirects me to http://tripplanning.translink.ca/ – which is unusable on my phone.

    Help! I’m stumbling around town blind. Translink… are you trying to be clever and redirect me to the non-mobile site cos you think my phone (Nokia N900) is a desktop? Please never do that… it’s a really bad idea. If someone chooses to visit a mobile site, you should show them the mobile site, regardless of what you think they want. Can you get someone to take the redirect out… like quickly? Because right now I’m more likely to take the car than try and work out my transit options on the move.

  • By Shazron, May 30, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

    Quoting Sonia: “All you had to do was tap on the app and all my favorite stops were listed within a few seconds. That’s the whole reason I even used the app. When I’m running out the door, I want to which one of the two buses I can take is going to come first. ”

    No faves – useless on the go. By the time I figure out my next bus I will miss the bus?

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, May 30, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

    Hi Shazron and others: I know what you mean about the favorite stops function. I used this as well and was sorry to see it go…for now. The new app is in production and I’ll be pushing for that feature and other features that were on the old iPhone app to be added to the new one. We intend to consult with transit users (expect an overdue Friday fun poll on this)on what the new app will have for functions. You’ll have to believe me for now, that the GPS function combined with the old functions you love will make for an even better app!

  • By ;-), May 30, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

    Was it really necessary to remove the old site while we need to wait months to see the new replacement site? Could we have not created a new URL to run the new site while we wait?

  • By Meraki, May 30, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

    Robert, did Translink consult at all with users before putting this new app live?

    And to say “wait for the feature” is basically saying “we removed the bus route that goes to your house, but stick by us and when we get around to running a bus there again, it’ll be even better!”

    Now you’re going to have to work to win back the people you’ve pushed away with this change, such as myself.

    In the meantime I’m going to have to find an app or something to replace what you took away, and then I won’t be switching back until you can give me a good enough reason.

    “You’ll have to believe me for now, that the GPS function combined with the old functions you love will make for an even better app!”

    Probably, but then leave us with the old app -until the new one is done-

    You’ve left us with nothing in the meantime.

  • By Peter Kieser, May 31, 2011 @ 12:13 am

    @Robert Willis

    What is the time line for restoration of the old (useful) features of the site?

  • By Dan, May 31, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

    The iPhone app was terribly buggy.

    But the website?!?! What was wrong with it? Once I realized that the app was broken (and eventually got rid of my iPhone for an Android), the website was a great fallback. In my opinion, there was nothing wrong with it.

    Any updates are going to have to be pretty amazing to top what was already a fast and easily navigable site.

    Are we 100% sure this is a wise use of our money? It wasn’t broken before.

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, May 31, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

    Hi all: I’m still working on getting answers to your questions. Peter, I’ve been told the new app will be ready for by late summer.

  • By Peter Kieser, May 31, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

    Late summer? I’m a bit skeptical, TransLink time that’s more like mid-fall.

    If it’s going to be so long (and really, late summer is 2-3 months) why couldn’t m.translink.ca (the old site) be left online?

    The new site is pretty much useless, and as such I (as I’m sure many others) have gone back to using SMS NextBus which probably costs TransLink more money than people using the site.

  • By Garreth, June 1, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

    Just to echo the sentiment of the above users:

    The new interface is completely unusable. If the old app was giving incorrect data, decouple that from the app and fix the data source.

    In the meantime I’m just going to use transit directions from the google maps app with the GPS, since it’s not 1994 anymore.

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, June 1, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

    Hi everyone: As promised, I’ve asked one of the people working on the mobile app to answer some of your questions. Cam Telford is a consultant with TransLink. Below are some questions that have been asked by a few of you in different ways. Cam’s answers follow those questions:

    Peter Kieser, May 31, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

    Question: If it’s going to be so long (and really, late summer is 2-3 months) why couldn’t m.translink.ca (the old site) be left online?

    &

    ;-), May 30, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

    Was it really necessary to remove the old site while we need to wait months to see the new replacement site? Could we have not created a new URL to run the new site while we wait?

    Cam Telford

    Answer: Our original intention was to wait for the switchover until the new site was ‘ready’. However, we started to experience serious data problems on a daily basis with the old system and it was generating too many complaints from customers and taking too many resources away from creating the new site to fix the issues being encountered with the old site. For these reasons, the decision was made to switch earlier than planned.

    Peter Kieser, May 25, 2011 @ 7:00 pm

    The old mobile site was way better, and worked nicely on EDGE. This new one isn’t, takes way too many page loads to get anything done. Not to mention you could bookmark stops, you can’t do that with the new one!

    Question: Why go from a page that is quick to one that takes many page loads?

    Cam Telford

    Answer: The site is being changed and will get more usable over time. Due to the reasons stated above, the changeover was needed before we had originally planned.

    Joe, May 26, 2011 @ 12:21 am

    It’s basically unusable without the favourite stops feature. It was the only reason I used it. Heck, I don’t even know what the stop numbers by my house are!

    Question: Will My Stops function return?

    Cam Telford

    Answer: Yes, there will be an ability in the future to ‘remember’ stops

    Meraki, May 30, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

    Question: Did Translink consult at all with users before putting this new app live?

    Cam Telford

    Answer: As I’m sure you can appreciate, this decision was not made lightly and was based upon TransLink’s desire to have the most accurate and current information available to our customers.

    I hope these answers by Cam have answered some of questions. There will be a poll on the blog this Friday that will ask you about the design of the new app. I hope you can all take the poll so we end up with an app most people are happy with. Thanks for all the comment everyone! If you have more, I’ll do my best to find answers for you.

  • By Steven, June 1, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

    I still think that there is a communication issue with regard to this recent rollout. If features are going to be taken away that customers have relied on this could have been explained here prior to its release. This may have prevented some unhappiness that Translink customers have expressed here. Bookmarking stops seems to be the most missed item and before rolling out Translink must have known this feature would no longer work and you could have said “these features a), b), c) will go but bear with us as they will return end of mm/yyyyy and will be the best thing since the invention of sliced bread”. Often training and communication are secondary to this type of rollout, unfortunately, and I think this is a good lesson on how important they are.

  • By ;-), June 2, 2011 @ 7:12 am

    While we are waiting for the poll, I hope the following features will be on the poll.

    Who wants….
    -speed (give us a HTML option that’s Java free. HTML can be used by non smart-phones.)
    -bookmark options (old the system would show my arriving bus times in 2 seconds! In addition to wasting battery life, GPS is very slow in concrete jungles.)
    -a clock (badly needed on the old system as it was running consistently 10 minutes slow)
    -6 next bus entries instead of 4
    -combined bus entries (in addition to the next four buses split up for each route, I want to see an additional line that shows the next 8 buses COMBINED). For example, the Downtown Granville stops that are used by several routes can combine the entries into a summarized line. This was how it was displayed on SMS long ago, until someone thought it was a great idea to split it up. There is a limitation on SMS, but not for a text website.

  • By ;-), June 2, 2011 @ 7:26 am

    For those who have not seen the mobile site, check out this video…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuC6aEXUUDA

  • By Eric H, June 3, 2011 @ 9:04 am

    I concur with all the complaints about the new site compared to the old m. on my iPhone.
    For mobile apps, the most important design principle is to do A FEW of the most useful things EXTREMELY fast (zero button presses or one) and to have that information personalized to a user’s preferences and context.

    The favourite stops feature as the first screen was indispensible.
    (Although the implementation seemed to have a random tendency to lose a subset of the favorite stops over time.)

    Other useful feature was ability right on the first screen to type a bus number or stop number. (Although it was slower than the bus coming, often).

    This app should be all about finding out the crucial info before my next “should I get off the current bus in hopes of catching that other one or should I stay on and…” kinds of decisions. These are REAL-TIME. I need that info in WELL UNDER ONE MINUTE – PREFERABLY 15 SECONDS OR LESS, from when I start with the app/site.

    Minor quibble with old iphone app. It was very handy to see the entire route of stops within a few data entry steps, but then scrolling through lots of stops on an iphone on a slow network is painful. Takes minutes and minutes. Fix.

    Oh one important detail. No buses found is not the same thing, informationally, as “there are no buses” or “system is down. Don’t know if there any buses”. It said “no buses found” often, and I’d have to use my super powers of intuition/reasoning to guess if the app was hosed oritreally was too late for buses tonight.

  • By Sam McMug, June 4, 2011 @ 3:12 pm

    I want the old m.translink.ca version back … that one is simple, fast and useful … Why make a change when nothing is broken?! …

  • By AndrewH, June 7, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

    I agree with most of the comments – you’ve “improved” by offering less useful information, and more slowly. Just give us the old system back … and if you have too many staff looking for things to change … well

  • By Cody, June 7, 2011 @ 8:23 pm

    Please fix the User Agent issue. Even though my OS isn’t iOS, that doesn’t mean that I want to go to the desktop site. Using User Agents but doing a half-assed job about it is pretty weak.

  • By Cecilia, June 17, 2011 @ 11:58 am

    I have to agree with everyone who uses a Blackberry. The mobile site was perfect for the blackberry. There was no warning about the change-over. It would be nice if a warning will be posted a few days before than ambushing us with a different site that is not efficient for blackberry and cells. As stated that 92% of people who uses the site have a iPhone, what about 8% of the people? If you intend to lose the 8%, you are on the track to do that.

    Just disappointed how this situation is handled. It’s taking a page of how the government handled the HST fiasco.

  • By Dave, June 21, 2011 @ 11:26 am

    Dont’ worry Cecilia, it doesn’t work on the Iphone either. They just need to fix it and realize that mobile users don’t want to reenter data at every opportunity. The simpler the better.

  • By gord, June 22, 2011 @ 12:20 am

    The old system worked flawlessly for me. Bookmarks were saved for regular bus stops. No charges for texts to 33333. BRING BACK THE OLD SYSTEM!

  • By Neil, June 29, 2011 @ 11:27 pm

    So far no changes to the site my Google phone uses. Slow but nice and simple. Accurate too.

    The link is tripplanning.translink.ca from the link named Mobile Site in the footer page of Translink.

    I’ve read some of the comments here and there are some valid concerns on how things are being done –

    1st off it doesn’t sound like “Be a part of the plan” was used for this project. So much for involving he public and maybe consumers with a user experience and high tech background.

    2nd in development why wasn’t a clone of the data placed on a development server? Then the new app could be tested without torching the old system before the new app/system was ready. Seems like a best practices SOP was missed here.

    3rd Not sure were Translink is getting their smartphone OS stats from as Android moved ahead of Apple and Blackberry months ago. But you didn’t hear that from me as I’d rather see the bugs get worked out by those guys.

    4th Was there any planning done with the Smartphone carriers? Reason being is RCC are changing their technology all the time. Maybe they could offer some good advice on why things are going.

    5th I fully support those that are asking questions and complaining as after all they are the end user who pays not only at the kiosk but also via their taxes. Seems Translink acts more like the steam railroads of generations ago.

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, June 30, 2011 @ 7:46 am

    Hi Neil,

    These are all valid comments/questions. I’ll pass them along to the mobile site team and see if they have any feedback.

    Thanks!

  • By Andriy, July 4, 2011 @ 10:35 am

    Hi there,

    I am also having issues accessing your mobile site on my Nokia N900 (just like Jon Jennings). When I go to m.translink.ca, I am being transferred to your regular tripplaning site. I never had any issues with the previous mobile site and would prefer it to being ridirected to your ragular desktop website!

  • By Neil, July 6, 2011 @ 11:05 am

    I’m on the west side today and I’ve been unable to use the mobile site using 3G this morning. I get a proxy server error “invalid response…” Same issue using WiFi No problems getting other sites using 3G or WiFi.

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, July 11, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

    Hi again Neil,

    I’m still working on getting you some feedback. I haven’t forgotten about you!

    Robert

  • By Neil, July 13, 2011 @ 7:03 pm

    Thanks Robert.

    In follow up to my July 6/2011 post, I had the same problem today. Also it’s the same issue down at Howe and Dunsmuir. My guess is the issue is related to testing the new system as there should be no way the sites should be this slow in this day and age. Note again in the above locations I have no problems accessing other web sites at all at a good speed. Btw I’m on Telus using a Samsung Nexus S (SNS)

  • By Philip, August 1, 2011 @ 7:06 am

    Am I doing something wrong?
    I have tried several times to access m.translink.ca using the browser on my blackberry torch. I just get redirected to the http://tripplanning.translink.ca site.
    While I can use this by zooming in on appropriate bits of the screen it is very clumbersome. Why am I not seeing the (I assume) more compact version? Is this a blackberry issue (if so it would certainly explain why you don’t get many blackberry visitors to your mobile site, as you discuss in previous posts)?
    Thanks!

  • By ???, August 1, 2011 @ 7:41 am

    No it’s not just Blackberries…. it’s all mobile phones…. the full desktop site is just not friendly to mobile phones.

    It’s a big shame they could not keep the mobile site up while developing the new site.

  • By Johnny Ross, August 2, 2011 @ 10:23 am

    I liked the old translink app. This new one is more work. It opens up a new page. I don’t like it. The old one was simple and easy to use. Why mess with something that works?

  • By Carson, August 2, 2011 @ 9:01 pm

    I thought I’d let everyone know that I’ve put together http://m.transitdb.ca/ ! I think it should tide us over for now. :)

  • By Steven, August 2, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

    Your app looks brilliant Carson, this is all I need for my journey planning!

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, August 3, 2011 @ 8:29 am

    Hi All,

    I have some answers for the questions Neil posted. They are below. Carson, I like the App! It’s my understanding that the new mobile site is being designed to be open source, so it’s great to see what people do with information once it’s on the net.

    I’ll have some news of interest to blog readers with questions and opinions about the new TransLink Mobile site. Please watch the blog over the next couple of weeks for that. Now, those answers from our mobile team:

    Question: In development why wasn’t a clone of the data placed on a development server? Then the new app could be tested without torching the old system before the new app/system was ready. Seems like a best practices SOP was missed here.

    Answer: The old app was third party and the data changes sometimes hourly which WAS the problem as they could not keep up to the pace of changes so it is impossible to ‘clone’ the data without it also being out of date in a matter of hours.

    Question: Not sure were Translink is getting their smartphone OS stats from as Android moved ahead of Apple and Blackberry months ago. But you didn’t hear that from me as I’d rather see the bugs get worked out by those guys.

    Answer: We get our smartphone stats from our website so the numbers quoted are reflected of our users, not the broader trend in the market.

    Question: Was there any planning done with the Smartphone carriers? Reason being is RCC are changing their technology all the time. Maybe they could offer some good advice on why things are going.

    Answer: We tried, but were unable to come to an agreement

  • By Jon Jennings, August 3, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

    Carson! Instant hero status. Thank you so much. I’m not quite sure why I still had a shortcut to the Translink webpage on my phone’s desktop but it’s been replaced by your app. Great job! I’ve used it out & about twice already.

    I love the way the stops along a route also show you other bus numbers that use that stop… useful addition. And entering street addresses – v cool.

    One suggestion: check for someone just entering 3 digits – that’s probably a bus route number. Was a handy shortcut on the old site.

  • By Neil, August 4, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

    Robert, thank you to the techies and you for following up on my questions. From the answers, I know what you guys are up against and it ain’t no fun time.

    If not already done or considered, I would certainly suggest a focus group or alpha/beta/rc testing the new mobile apps and web site before releasing it to the transit public. I’m sure when Transit puts the call out for testers for the apps and site there will be some great feedback from knowledgeable end users.

    Carson, many thanks on the awesome work on m.transitbd.ca as it will be a good bridge between the old and the new. I’ve noticed it’s load and the simple interface makes it way faster than the old one.

    Both the Browse and Find features are really handy and KISS. Only thing I would change with the Find feature is make the number of stops on the nearest route less and widen the ranges to include stops on other routes. Example – my main route is 4th Ave but I will never walk along the route more than one stop E or W. to get a bus OTOH I will walk the extra blocks S to W. Broadway or N to Cornwall to get buses on those routes. Only caveat to the Find feature is whether the location is based on a cell tower which it presently looks like. GPS would be better as my stop doesn’t even show due to the cell tower being accessed is 6+ blocks away.

    Great progress and I look forward to using the m.transitdb.ca as it’s way better.

    Cheers,

    Neil

  • By Dave, August 5, 2011 @ 9:34 am

    So this one reply (below) gets me and smells of “we didn’t feel like doing that”. The current system isn’t updated on time either so this whole reasoning is bogus. They changed my 160 buss route 3 times at the start of summer and not once did the website have a notice or update until well after the change. I wasn’t the only one left standing waiting for a bus that wasn’t coming. You need to remember, we are your customers, I guarantee you that if we privatized transit you would see much better customer service. I’m not saying that’s the solution here but when you have a monopoly of the market the customer service levels drop. Think ICBC, Telus/BCTel etc.

    “Question: In development why wasn’t a clone of the data placed on a development server? Then the new app could be tested without torching the old system before the new app/system was ready. Seems like a best practices SOP was missed here.”

    “Answer: The old app was third party and the data changes sometimes hourly which WAS the problem as they could not keep up to the pace of changes so it is impossible to ‘clone’ the data without it also being out of date in a matter of hours.”

  • By govi, December 24, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

    What happened with the Google map translink bus planner services?
    When I PUSH GET DIRECTIONS no longer gives the right information about route bus, it only shows two green spots, it is looked like Trasnlink doesn’t offer the services on the goggle map anymore. The Similar service on Translink’s web page is so complicated, for example, before with Google’s map only I have to put my postal code and the address where I want to go, I get all the option plus coloured route
    but with translink traveling planer never working with postal code.
    I hope that Trasnlink returned the service to Goggle map like was before.

Other Links to this Post

  1. The Buzzer blog » Friday fun poll: how do you want your real-time information on the new mobile site? — June 3, 2011 @ 1:53 pm

  2. The Buzzer blog » The results of the June future mobile site Friday fun poll — June 27, 2011 @ 8:17 am

  3. The Buzzer blog » Help us beta test the first phase of TransLink’s Real-Time Transit Information — August 16, 2011 @ 9:01 am

  4. The Buzzer blog » Real-time transit information beta test wrap-up — August 31, 2011 @ 8:38 am

  5. The Buzzer blog » The new Next Bus is now officially launched! — April 20, 2012 @ 10:05 am

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