Reminder: tell us what kind of mobile device you use.

So far, with 157 votes as of 10am, our mobile device survey shows that, at least amongst our readers, there are just about as many Android users as there are iPhone users.

Metro’s initial iPhone offering met with mixed-reviews but it looks like the numbers may reveal that an Android app is something Metro should consider.

Also interesting: about 70% who have participated so far have some sort of smartphone, but a surprising 12% report having a dumbphone with no internet access at all.

9 replies

  1. I’m a Palm Pre user myself (for the moment), but frankly the best thing Metro could do would be to politely lean on other municipal operators (SM Big Blue Bus, Culver City Bus, etc.) to cooperate with Google Transit.

    Besides being useful on Google Maps’ website, they make EXCELLENT apps already (including for the Palm Pre).

    Google Maps already had excellent integration with Metro (a big thank you!) — and that move was the single best thing to make Metro service easier to use.

    But since other municipal operators haven’t yet gotten on board (inexcusable, if you ask me, even if they have been “planning” to cooperate for…years) they might as well not exist for those planning trips using Google Maps/Google Maps app.

  2. “but a surprising 12% report having a dumbphone with no internet access at all.”

    I don’t think it’s that surprising — just think of how many low-income people make up the Metro ridership. I think a large proportion of us probably can’t afford expensive smartphones or the high data charges. Many people can’t afford or don’t have good enough credit yearly cell phone contracts at all and can only purchase prepaid plans, nearly all of which do not include internet access. I’m sure the number of people who fall into this category exceed 12% of transit riders.

    • Chirimoya,

      Very true, I’m sure if we were asking riders in transit directly, the answers might be much different. I tend to assume the readers of the blog are a bit more tech savvy, due to the fact that they are reading a blog, hence the surprise. That being said, on the buses and trains I definitely see a lot of younger people with smartphones/sidekicks/etc.

      Fred Camino
      Lifestyle Editor, The Source

  3. Is there a technical definition of “smart phone”? I think it’s worth remembering that a telephone never has been, nor ever will be necessary to use public transportation.

    If frequent service were the norm rather than the exception on Metro, people wouldn’t be bothering to pull out expensive internet phones to look up schedules.

    Also, for the record, I’ve got an old-school phone and I don’t see any compelling reason to get a new one. I actually think not being expected to respond to emails all the time is an advantage of older phones 🙂

    • Chewie,

      Wikipedia has an entry on smartphones. Basically: Smartphones run complete operating system software providing a platform for application developers..

      I don’t think a mobile phone, smart or dumb, is a requirement to use public transit. It just has the potential to make getting transit information easier by putting a wealth of information in your pocket. I suppose you could say printed transit maps and schedules wouldn’t be neccessary if buses and trains ran nonstop – but most agencies still provide these things, even those with very robust service. The fact is, transit systems are complex and (in my opinion) the more information a transit passenger has access to, the better.

      Plus, to me one of the best features of having a smartphone when it comes to public transit is that it offers so many distractions that can make your transit journey go by in a snap.

      Fred Camino
      Lifestyle Editor, The Source

  4. Just don’t forget about all of the people who can’t afford those phones. The existence of internet phones should not be an excuse not to upgrade bus stops and train stations with better information on when vehicles are coming (not to mention more basic things like shade).

    Some agencies (e.g. in NY and Philadelphia) actually post bus schedules at bus stops the old fashioned way: with paper. I have a feeling you care about this, so I hope you’ll think about it.

    • Chewie,

      I think it’s best to look at Metro’s mobile initiatives as another tool in the quiver, not the end-all-be-all.

      If you come across any images of bus stops/rail stations with great, accessible information displays, please share. I think you’ll find that in most cities, like L.A., the quality varies from stop to stop. Here’s a picture of NYC bus stop info box w/ schedule info (some L.A. bus stops have these too): http://www.flickr.com/photos/bitchcakes/4576862250/. This is not to make excuses, but to say that it’s something that every agency struggles with. That’s why I think the more sources of information, the better for the rider.

      Fred Camino
      Lifestyle Editor, The Source