After the MBTA released real-time bus data to third-party software developers in November, Jared Egan was in such a rush to roll out the first smartphone app that lets riders know when their bus will arrive, he didn’t include a mechanism to measure how often “Catch the Bus” is used.
“I do know that when the server goes down people e-mail me,” said Eagan, 25, who won the MassDOT/MBTA Real-Time Challenge this spring. “I got probably over 100 e-mails.”
While the real-time bus arrival information is currently just for routes 39, 111, 114, 116 and 117, the MBTA plans to release all the bus data this summer.
“Most of them ask me to add the 66 bus and they think I’m in control of the data,” Egan said of his customers. “They think I’m the MBTA. They are like ‘Thanks for finally getting your act together. It’s exactly what people want.’”
But Egan admits what people really want is to know when their MBTA train will arrive. Egan said if the MBTA ever releases subway data it would take him “more than a few” to retrofit his bus app.
“But it would not be difficult,” he said. “It’s all about getting the data. That’s the hardest part. And that’s their onus.”