Join the Mobility Revolution with These Five Apps - Technology Review
Just in time: When’s the bus coming? NextBus takes away the guesswork: the app tells you exactly how many minutes away your bus is. It works using GPS signals from devices installed inside city buses. Boston has signed on, and so has San Francisco, where the app also keeps track of trolleys and cable cars.
NextBus is a 15-year-old company, and it was “tough going” for many years, says chief technology officer Michael Smith. Originally, riders got updates by calling a number or consulting bus-stop displays. Now the rise of smart phones has made the system much more powerful. About 30 percent of NextBus’s 800,000 daily users access the app via iPhones or other smart devices.
NextBus charges transit agencies a few hundred dollars per bus per year to use its service, and more if the buses don’t have GPS yet. The fee Los Angeles pays to use the software in its 2,500-vehicle fleet: $1.5 million over three years. But that’s quickly made back in increased ridership. Bus-stop haters can now arrive just in time.