Muni Diaries iPhone App Review: Routesy 2.0.2
I barely had a chance to tinker with it before it was taken off iTunes, following the much-covered flap between the app’s developer, Steven Peterson, and NBIS, a shady couple of dudes claiming ownership over the prediction data that helps power Routesy.
Well, that was all fine and dandy, but now Routesy is back, and perhaps owing to my sense of anticipation, it’s on top of its game.
This app is for locals, to be sure. When launched, it produces a long list of Muni routes. Muni nerds like yours truly could begin and end here, having a field day scrolling through the alpha-numeric route list. But the app is meant to give prediction times, so we need to keep going.
A navigation bar on the bottom of the screen lets you alternate between Muni, BART, or your saved bookmarks (more on those in a moment). On the Muni “page,” a top-nav gives you the choice between “Inbound” and “Outbound.” Very clear. But again, being a local and somewhat in the know means being aware of whether you’re traveling inbound or outbound. Not this app’s problem, but still.
Routesy is fast. Once a line is selected, you’re immediately taken to the nearest stop for that route and given a distance (always a bonus, as sometimes it’s just faster to walk). Once the stop is selected, you’re served a full course of prediction times for the next bus, nearby routes, and a map, which thanks to iPhone 3.0 software, loads seamlessly in Routesy. You can also opt to be taken to the Google Maps app, but I didn’t see a need for that.
Before you shut down shop, remember to bookmark that route+stop combination for future use. A small check-mark indicates the successful addition of a new bookmark
One thing I’d like to see all transit-prediction apps do is integrate prediction data between transit systems. Like, say I was going to take BART to 16th and Mission, but needed to get to 11th and Mission. Wouldn’t it be nice to know ahead of time about when to expect to get the bus that would take me those five blocks?
Or, imagine that you just want to know which is faster, BART or Muni (ha, yeah, we get it). It would nice to get predictions side-by-side, for comparison’s sake.
My other problem is the lack of route-planning, for those times when you’re not in the know, or for non-locals. Say you had no freakin’ idea how to get to Jackson and Steiner from Third and 20th (if I’m “out in the field,” I probably don’t). At that point, 511.org* or Google Maps are probably your best bets.
Easy to look at, easy to use, and with the added bonus of having BART prediction and bus-stop data built in, Routesy is a speedy, pretty must-have for all SF and Bay Area iPhoners. It is available on iTunes for $3.99.
P.S. It sure is nice to write about Routesy in a non-newsy way for a change 😉
* 511.org wasn’t loading at the time this review was published. Oh noes!