After a lot of planning, work and some testing (thanks again, Buzzer readers), the newly upgraded mobile website is finally here!
The new Next Bus
If you logged onto m.translink.ca recently, you would notice that the page looks different. Not only has the page been redesigned, there are two new services provided: Next Bus and Favorites. Oh, and there is also a twitter feed at the bottom of the main page. When you click onto the new Next Bus feature, you’re taken to the “Where’s My Bus?” page. From here, you can either enter the bus stop number (if you know it), or you click on the “Find My Stop” button on the right. If you enter a stop number, your next choice is to have your search displayed as a map or as text (having it displayed as text is great if your cell phone isn’t a smart phone).
If you don’t know your stop number, then the “Find My Stop” button takes you to a page that allows you the intersection or popular location for your location. This page accesses the same functionality that is used when using Trip Planner. Once you’ve chosen your desired stop, you can chose either a map or text display of your search.
The Real-Time map
Oh, the map. I love looking at it. Anyway, once you’re at the map view, you’ll see a red pin showing the bus stop you searched for and the buses (illustrated by a blue and white icon) that service that particular stop. The route number is displayed in the bus icon’s window. The arrows indicate the direction of the route that bus is on. Above the red pin is a bubble showing the details for the stop number that the user searched for including the stop location and number, the bus route numbers and their schedules for that stop.
“Real Time” means you’ll see the actual location of the bus. For this release of the beta, you’ll be able to cross-reference the scheduled time of the bus with bus’ actual location. Each bus is equiped with a GPS that updates its location every two minutes. Because each bus is running on its own clock, not all buses will update at the same time. In order to update the location of the bus on the map you’ll need to manually “Refresh” the map by using the “Refresh” button at the top of the screen or your browser’s “Refresh” button.
This first release of the mobile site saves your favorite route by using the Trip Planning function. Once you’ve chosen the trip option you prefer, you can click on the “Add To Favourites” button. Currently, you’ll be able to store up to four favourite routes.
You’ll also notice that the favourites function also stores the last four searches you’ve performed using Trip Planner (both to and from your desired destination).
Trip Planner, Schedules, Fairs, Rider Info, Buzzer Blog, Alerts and Contact Us
All these functions on the mobile site are the same as on the TransLink website or similar to what we had on the old mobile “App” site (with the exception of the “Save To Favorites” button in Trip Planner). You’ll notice that much of the text has been chopped down to the essential information in order to fit on most mobile devices. As mentioned previously, the release of the new mobile site is in beta version.
The mobile team is still working out some bugs and plans on rolling out updates and new features in the months to come including being able to search by route and multiple bus routes according to your location as well as adding real time arrival times to the schedules. The plan is to start with basic functionality and build upon that foundation. Please also remember that this first release of the mobile site works best with iPhones (3G, 3GS, 4). The mobile team is working on making the site work better with other smart phones and operating systems . As usual, I’ll be forwarding comments to the mobile team, so go out on the system and try it out!