Transit is a huge issue in Metro Vancouver. Commuting, bus times, delays, over crowding, and lack of routes really gets me down but it’s nice to sometimes find something good about being a bus rider in this region.
I made mention of the MyBus Facebook app in my DemoCamp post but I wanted to elaborate and share a few more helpful tidbits.
John first told me about MyBus a few months ago and I have to say, it’s my absolutely favourite Facebook. It’s helpful, practical, informative and being someone who relies solely on foot and transit to get around town, it’s an invaluable tool.
What does MyBus do?
It keeps track of your bus schedules right from your Facebook profile page. Choose the stops that matter to you and enjoy live updates of your bus schedules!
So everyone can see what buses I take?
NO! Only you can see your own schedules.
Basically you load it onto your Facebook profile, it’s totally private but since people nowadays are usually constantly checking their profiles, it’s a good place to keep it. You type in your “home” or “starting” bus stop and it instantly gives you the next 6 departure times. You can load in as many bus routes as you need and they have recently introduced “Quick Lookup”. This allows you to quickly look up any route, any stop, and get the information for the next bus, on the fly.
Unfortunately yesterday I walked out to a C23 (community shuttle) bus stop not knowing when it would arrive. I didn’t have any wifi access so I couldn’t log in and check MyBus from my Nokia N95. I did the next best thing and called my sister to see if she was near a computer and could look up the times for me. She said that if you call the phone number on the bus stop – (604) 953-3333 you’ll get an automated service. So I dialed the number, followed the prompts and entered my bus stop number (a five-digit number at the top of the sign on the side of the road) and it told me what time it was and when the next few buses were to arrive. It worked like a charm.
But, this was also before I found out about another MyBus feature…
I don’t have Facebook can I still use MyBus?
YOU BET! All of your schedules are accessible by RSS and text message, courtesy of our partners at Quick Mobile. It’s a free service, meaning it costs as much as any other text message you would send. Text 74636 with your Vancouver or Calgary stop number to get your schedule!
Fantastic. So with MyBus, a computer, Facebook, or my mobile phone I can always get the latest information about bus stop arrival and departure times. This doesn’t solve the problem of late buses, and infrequent scheduling but it does make commuting around the region a little more pleasant.