The mobile team has been quietly working on new functionality for our Next Bus service. As many of you know, after the new mobile site (m.translink.ca) was launched in September, the Next Bus (nb.translink.ca) page was updated so that if you use the map function and you click on any bus stop, you’ll get the corresponding routes that service that stop and their schedules.
Today you’ll find new updates when you use Next Bus. Before I get into them, it’s important to remember that the mobile site, including Next Bus, is still in beta mode. This means that there are still updates to functionality yet to come. The reason that Next Bus is being released in beta instead of waiting until it is completely finished is so customers can start benefiting from it now and provide feedback on how to make it better, so as usual, I’ll be forwarding your comments to the mobile team.
OK, let’s get to the new functionality:
Searching by route #
You can now search by route # on the Next Bus “Where’s My Bus?” page.
If you don’t know a route #, you can leave the field blank and be brought to the map page. The text “Sorry, we could not recognize your search. Please zoom in to the map to find your stop or click “New Search” to return to the Search page.” will show up in a box when you get to the map. Once you close this box you can search the map for bus stops and routes with ease!
As before, by clicking on a bus stop “T” logo, a schedule pop up box appears, and you can choose from the routes which service this stop. The big change is that once you search by route, an orange line appears on top of the map indicating the “usual” pattern of that route. I say “usual” because some routes have multiple patterns (one route has over thirty, I’m told) and can change patterns during different times of the day (rush hour, special school buses, etc.). The bus’ “usual” route is the route set up as the default route in our database (usually the route’s most common pattern). At the moment, the route can only be selected from the “Where’s My Bus?” page. Clicking on a bus’ icon will bring up a dialogue box showing the bus’ destination.
In the future: Clicking on a bus’ icon will bring up a dialogue box showing the exact route that the bus is on instead of the “usual” route. You will also be able to click on the route # within the box and the corresponding orange route line(s) will remain visible.
Please note, at present, if you search by route # using the map function then click any other functionality, the orange route line(s) will disappear.
In the future: If you click on a bus stop that a route services, the orange route line will not disappear.
If you choose text view to search, you’ll still need to know your bus stop # or route #. However, what’s new now is that once you choose a route #, a list of all the route’s stops and locations will be listed and hyperlinked to the schedule showing what time the bus will be at each bus stop. At the moment, each stop along a route is listed in numerical order not geographic order.
In the future: Each stop along a route will be listed in geographic order.
If you’re using a smart phone (iPhone and iPad are officially supported), you’ll noticed that the mobile team is experimenting with using your phone’s GPS location capabilities. This is a functionality that will officially be rolled out soon.
Improving how users can search by route and locations will be the main priority moving forward. Once this is done, searching for buses by locations, mobile GPS and favourites will be given the majority of attention. After that, the mobile team will focus on making all of the components of the new mobile site compatible on non-Apple devices.