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 email@example.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.