It’s like Mapquest for the bus.
Software developer William Lachance just launched a route-mapping web site for bus users. It will tell you how far you have to walk to the bus stop, when the bus is coming and how long it will take you to get there.
“When I first moved to Halifax I needed to take a trip to Burnside and I had no idea how to get there. It was extremely difficult to figure out how to get there. I just saw a need and I’m a software developer so I’m always thinking about interesting problems to solve.”
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So last fall he hopped on his bike and took a GPS unit with him to map out most of the bus routes in peninsular Halifax. Lachance said the 20-30 hours of biking he put in was actually a small fraction of the work involved.
“The site actually has artificial intelligence software that I wrote that will plan the route out for you based on the data I put in,” he said.
“As much as possible it tries to minimize the amount of time you need to walk, and total time. Obviously nobody likes to transfer once they’re on the bus, so it tries to minimize that as well.”
The site, www.hbus.ca, has been up about a week and Lachance said he’s looking for user feedback.
His site isn’t associated with Metro Transit, which is planning something similar.
“We’ve got our own in the works, one that’s standard with transit systems,” said spokeswoman Lori Patterson.
“They are fairly common and we’ve been working on it in conjunction with some other projects, but it should be ready in the next few months.”