Go Metro iPhone app comments roundup

Go Metro iPhone app.

Two weeks ago Metro released Build 1.0 of its Go Metro iPhone app – marking the agency’s first foray into the world of smartphones.

The news that Metro released an app for Apple’s popular mobile platform certainly nabbed some headlines, but the app itself has received less than enthusiastic reviews – to date it has an average score of 2 out of 5 stars on the iTunes store.

Metro is emphasizing the “Build 1.0″ prefix, which essentially means that further builds are on the way that will take into account feedback from customers. In other words, something better is in the works.

What follows are some comments on the app pulled from the iTunes store, local media and our email box. The best way to ensure your feedback reaches the right people is by using this Metro iPhone App Feedback Form on Metro.net. Additionally, you can also share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment – or if you’re old school, send us an email at sourcemetro@gmail.com.

Eric Richardson of Blogdowntown reviews the app and finds that it doesn’t do much to build upon Metro’s “archaic” Trip Planner:

The iPhone version doesn’t do much to improve matters. It selects one trip instead of presenting a list of options, but does so in a manner that is unlikely to make sense for Downtowners. For that trip from Pico and Hill to City Hall, the LAMetro app would have us walk a half mile to Olive and Olympic to catch Foothill Transit’s Silver Streak, paying $2.75 for the seven minute bus ride. A smarter rider would walk just a block to 12th and Hill, catching the DASH D for only $0.35.

The app also misses the chance to allow the user to use his or her current location for the trip’s starting point, and doesn’t offer any saved state information if the rider happens to exit the trip midway. The extensive use of Metro’s website for data also means that a constant Internet connection is required, a downer for those who would wish to use the app in subway tunnels or on an iPod touch.

Jane Lee, a local software developer, sent us an email expressing her disappointment at the quality of the app:

You guys *seriously* have got to be kidding me.

In a city like LA with dozens (at least! these are only the ones I know of!) of talented iPhone developers that have millions of users of successful products between them, you choose a contractor to come up with an app that basically is a useless and limited wrapper for the mobile website and think this is awesome? Just in a city like LA. Nevermind the independent developers and companies outside of the city/county that would have done a better job with one hand tied behind their backs as well.
I’m disappointed. There’s just so much wrong with the app I don’t even know where to begin to offer criticism, and I don’t even work on mobile apps full time. I don’t even know how anyone used the app and thought it was okay to submit. I really think this app should be scrapped and a more competent company found to start from scratch.
Not all feedback was negative though, here’s an email we received from Ryan Tomlin who’s just happy to see Metro embrace the technology:
Thank you, thank you, thank you for the new iPhone App.  I have been waiting years for LA to invest in the Metro system from a technology standpoint.  I believe 1000 times over that as the technology and convenience of the Metro system increases, more and more people will utilize it as their primary means of transportation.  I hope soon that the app will locate busses in real time such that arrivals can be forecasted by patrons to down to the minute.  Less time waiting at stops will yield thousands more riders.  The first generation of the iPhone App is a great step in that direction.  Congratulations and thank you!
Some reviews grabbed from the iTunes store, after the jump.
Wattlebird8 rated the app 3 out of 5 stars and said:
Good start for the app.
A couple of things I’d like to see:
•Being able to save PDF’s (throuhg iBooks e.g.) or images of timetables or allow them to be saved/accessed offline.
•Having nearby stops show other operators as well.
•Finding a stop on a timetable, etc… is a bit difficult, especially on a line like the 2 with what seems to be like hundreds of stops.
•The timetable part is a bit glitchy, doesn’t always show the right lines for the right operator.
But on the whole, it s a good start for an LA transit app. I appreciate having an easy-to-use mobile trip planner with all the regional operators, since Google Transit only has Metro. The service updates is a useful feature on the go, as is the ‘nearby stops’. Definitely easier and more convenient than navigating the full Metro.net site on the iPhone.
Jdsch rated the app 2 out of 5 stars and said:
I live in Hermosa Beach and haven’t used an Metro services except for riding the subway twice. There is a bus stop right by my house but I have no idea where it goes and what time it is supposed to arrive so I downloaded this app to see if I could finally figure it out. Unfortunately, the answer is no. The app did tell me the line was the 130 but I couldn’t figure out how to find the timetable. Timetables are on a different tab – Basics – but then you have to pick a service area to look. I chose Beach Cities but the Beach Cities section had no way to pick any line, let alone the 130. Maybe that info is coming in a future update? But what would be even better is if on Maps tab you could just click on the station (usually the nearest) and all the info would be there. That way you could skip the whole going to the Basics tab, have to find your service area in a HUGE list and then pick out the individual line. Also, when picking the service area, the icon to click so you can scroll through all the areas is too far to the right. You have to scroll the screen right before you can click on the icon. Kind of annoying.
Jared James rated the app 1 out of 5 stars and said:
The app does not take advantage of the iPhone’s capabilities. The trip planner is the same simple text based planner on the website. It will not provide you with more than one line or alternate transit services. The location feature will tell you nearby bus locations but lacks next available pickup times and route maps. You’re better off adding the web-based advanced trip planner as a bookmark or homescreen shortcut until this app gets more love.
Kyan rated the app 2 out of 5 stars and said:
This is a much needed app. Please fix it.
1. Either save history or allow destinations from internal contacts. 2. Add zip code utility because without adding a zip code this app searched everything WRONG. 3. This app is LA metro. Why does it search addresses for the entire USA. 4. Organize your layout better. To find bus 201 I had to look in lines 600-1200? 5. It’s great that the app shows the closest GPS stops. But a schedule would be useful. Add a click thru or show next time. 5. Allow or show alternate routes.
Jason Lambert rated the app 3 out of 5 stars and said:
I just looked up Pasadena to Glendale at 9:00 on a Wed. morning: 1hr 40min! It’s a 15 minute drive. Perhaps providing a “suggestions” entry field on how to identify problems and improve our local transit system would be a good idea as well?
Aside from this, this app will be great if it’s consistently improved upon and maintained. Go METRO!

Categories: Feedback, Technology

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  1. […] When the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (CA) released its released Go Metro, its first iPhone app, a couple of weeks ago, the agency received a lot of attention. The app itself, however, received mixed reviews. LA Metro’s blog The Source presented a selection of user comments, ranging from “good start” to “please fix it.” Read more comments or offer your own on The Source. […]

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