Quick Bus Times for Metro Vancouver


Friday, October 5th, 2007 — 10:30am PST
Comments 13

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.

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13 comments

  1. Raul says:

    I always call the Translink customer service for bus times (using the method you described). I seem to recall that there’s a new service – I saw it advertised either on the Metro or the 24 Hrs newspapers. I wonder if it’s the same as texting 74636. Thanks for this!

  2. Jenny says:

    Too bad everyone can’t call me for help 🙂

  3. Igorskee says:

    Thanks so much for the kind words about our presentations and continuous coverage of our products… We will try our best not to disappoint =)

    Igor
    Handi Mobility

  4. fotoeins says:

    This is fantastic … it reminds me a little of the Bay Area’s 511.org …

  5. I too have blogged about MyBus on Facebook. I also set up the tags for my preferred routes and got into the habit of texting them to get the next times. However, when away from my computer the Quick Mobile solution at http://ww.textbus.ca is far more usable.

    What I wanted to do though was program my cellphone so that with one press it would send the text – like I can press 1 and hold it and get to my voicemail. I haven’t solved that challenge yet, but settled for making it as easy as I could.

    The problem I’ve found with both services though is that they only tell you when the bus is supposed to turn up according to the timetable, not when it will. The 25 I catch a lot seems to always be missing buses. The C23 on the other hand is less of a problem. They are frequent enough, or at least if there isn’t one when I need it I just walk.

    Generally speaking I wish the debate about buses would move away from introducing new routes etc and more to actually making the routes that already exist, work properly. I.e. having enough buses to fit the demand and actually running the buses that are listed on the timetable!

    However, we have it good in this city in some ways. Here, people do genuinely use the transit system, therefore we have earnt the right to moan. In many cities the whingers are normally people who barely recognise what a bus looks like, let alone use one!

  6. Duane Storey says:

    That’s cool. In ottawa, every bus stop had a number on the sign, and you could call their automated phone service, type in the number, and it would tell you when the next bus would come.

  7. Raul says:

    Duane, we can do this right now with Translink, as a matter of fact.

    Stewart, I had the same experience. The 8 Fraser is the most unreliable bus you can ever find. And you won’t believe what a Translink representative told me over the phone…” sir, you have to understand, there are not two but three games downtown, so the traffic is horrible…” I am like … What????? You have *got* to be kidding me.

  8. Leigh says:

    I love taking the bus during the day, but before work and after work it’s brutal. Since I work 7-7 the buses only come every 20 minutes. Makes me sad.

  9. S says:

    Sweet! Thanks for writing about this!

  10. […] Something Simpler, Site Masher and Jiibe. How do I recall all these demos? Well Handi Mobility (of MyBus fame) is responsible for LiveVote.ca, which had a running poll for attendees to vote on their […]

  11. […] have been trying to revolutionize the way get our Translink bus schedules for a while now because, let’s face it, they […]

  12. […] I’ve known of Handi Mobility since DemoCamp in May of 2007 and since then have regularly used their MyBus Facebook application. […]

  13. Thomas Ng says:

    That looks great!! Trying to get the bus times from the telephone service is such a pain, and sometimes it doesn’t even work.

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