Muni Diaries iPhone App Review: Routesy Pro 3.0
As a longtime SF public transportation rider, one of the websites I visit the most wheatear it be on my phone or my laptop, is NextBus.com. For the most part, NextBus does what it’s supposed to do, and if you’ve visited their website on your smartphone, you know that it’s visually bare and very basic. There are no maps or bookmarks. Every now and again, I would use the free Routesy app. But the reason I don’t rely on the free Routesy app often is that the app would crash on me and was just too unreliable.
Muni Diaries was looking for testers to play with a beta version of the new Routesy app. I volunteered and have been using the new app for a few weeks, mainly to look-up Muni schedules. I have to say, I like the new and improved Routesy. My first impression: this is a whole new app compared to the free Routesy I’m familiar with. They’ve updated their icon, an homage to the old Muni FastPass (RIP) and added two new transit schedules: Caltrain and AC Transit.
I initially had some issues with the GPS map feature after installing the app, i.e., it didn’t seem to know where I was. But this was fixed by closing and re-launching the app. I think this was a fluke because the GPS has been accurate eversince. As for the app crashing, well, it happened twice, but that’s it. I don’t know if this was due to my phone having too many apps running or AT&T’s notoriously bad service. My guess: it’s a little bit of both.
One of the first things I noticed with the new Routesy is the GUI. It’s much better compared to the old version. The list of Muni lines is much easier to see and read. The new app now gives you a list of Muni bus/metro lines with a drop-down menu giving you a choice of inbound or outbound route, which will then give you an arrival schedule. In the old app, I had to choose a route first, inbound or outbound, then pick the bus line to get the arrival time. This could be just a matter of preference (since it’s the same amount of steps to get the schedule), but I like the new version better. It made more sense to me. The only thing I would change is for the drop-down menu to be hidden or close automatically after getting the schedule. Right now, after you’ve chosen a bus/metro line, it stays open, and there is no way to close the drop-down menu.
The bookmark feature that I love in the free app is the also in the new app. This is such a great feature and a time saver! My favorite stops right there, no need to look for them every time. I also like the “other routes” option and map that shows up on the Muni bus/metro line that I’m looking at. I like that it gives me a heads-up that while the 14-Mission bus I’m waiting for won’t be here for another 20 minutes, the 49-Van Ness will be here in 5 minutes, and it will take me where I want to go. I don’t know whether any of the other transit apps have the bookmark or other routes feature. I know my old standby NextBus.com doesn’t have them.
As for arrival accuracy and when I compared it to NextBus.com, the new Routesy is off by a minute or three, but this doesn’t bother me too much as long as I know the bus I’m waiting for is on its way.
Would I pay $5.00 for the app? The price is a little on the high side but reasonable considering you’re getting Muni, BART, and now Caltrain and AC Transit schedules on your phone. And if the developer keeps updating and improving the app, I wouldn’t mind paying $5.00 for it.