Next stop! Your cellphone – Metro US

Next stop! Your cellphone

When you call OC Transpo’s bus stop info line, a female voice carefully announces how many minutes until the next bus is expected at your stop.
Web programmer Remi Plourde found that annoying, because she spoke so slow. He wanted his schedule right away.
So he designed a website for mobile browsers that lets people download route schedules right to a cellphone — a service OC Transpo has yet to offer.
“With this you find the schedule, bookmark it and if I need it the next day, launch the link,” he said.
Plourde has made the beta version of his website, ocinfo.ca, freely accessible.
“I’m just doing this for fun and to benefit the community. If they want to use it, go ahead and use it,” he said.
The transit service encourages independent programmers to use information on its website, but John Donaldson, Manager of Transit Information, said OC Transpo can’t consider those applications when making its own improvements.
“Anything that helps riders use the system more efficiently is great,” he said. “We just can’t make any guarantees that our system will continue to support it.”
Until OC Transpo can offer schedules for mobile browsing, though, Plourde’s program provides an option.
At the site, users are prompted to enter bus stop and route number into fields. The website then displays the timetable for the selected route at that stop.
Plourde’s website takes bus schedules from the OC Transpo website and saves it to ocinfo.ca, speeding up the search time. He’s put maybe 50 hours of programming time into the site as one of his side projects, though this is the first he’s made public.
OC Transpo’s enhanced 560-1000 information line receives almost 12 million calls each year. This year, Donaldson said OC Transpo will
unveil mobile browser applications like the Travel Planner on the main site, as well as the stop schedule look-up that Plourde designed, and route schedule look-up.
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