Metro debuts next generation bus today

Metro debuted the first of 550 New Flyer buses this morning. The New Flyer buses will be replacing the remaining high floor buses, thus making Metro a 100 percent low-floor fleet. Additionally, the buses will eventually replace all coaches built between 1999 and 2001, which will result in a much younger fleet that can continue to provide reliable service for Metro bus riders.

The Metro Board in January 2013 approved a $308-million contract for 550 new buses, which will be delivered over the next 18 months. One particular focus of Metro staff was making the buses as ADA-compliant and safe as possible and some of the new features of the new buses include the Q’Pod wheelchair securement system, which better accommodates passengers in wheelchairs. Each bus is also equipped with a new video monitoring system that can be downloaded wireless to law enforcement, if necessary.

The first buses will be put in service in areas of Los Angeles County served by Division 5 in South Los Angeles, Division 7 in West Hollywood and Division 18 in Carson. One of the new buses is also running today only along the 33 line that serves Venice Boulevard. 

Go Metro mobile app for iPhone and Android – update available

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Metro is always listening, and thanks to the growing number of users of our Go Metro app and their valuable feedback, we’ve recently released an updated version of our mobile application for both Android and iPhone/iPad users.

The latest update comes packed with a few new features, bug fixes and is synced to the latest bus/rail schedule shakeup. More details on the updates below. If this is the first you’re hearing of our Go Metro app, download is both easy and free. Click here to find out more about the app.

The latest update includes the following changes/fixes:

  • Fixed notifications for iPhone/iPad users: users can now receive pushed notifications to their devices such as system service alerts.
  • Fixed map zooming on Android devices: users were unable to zoom out while viewing a downloaded map.
  • Fixed map update issue (iOS and Android): users will now be notified when a select map has been updated, and will be given the option to download the new version.
Users will now be updated whenever a line's map has been updated, and will have the option to download the newer version.

Users will now be updated whenever a line’s map has been updated, and will have the option to download the newer version.

  • Numbers are now assigned to the list of alert items to help users determine the number of new alerts.
  • 511 traffic information has been added to the list of alert items – this provides users with live traffic reports, road conditions, and motorist aid.
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New 511 Traffic Information and the ability to now see how many new alerts have been posted.

Menu and design updates improve Metro.net usability

At first glance, visitors to Metro’s website may not notice that some major changes have taken place to improve their user experience. Metro has updated its global navigation and overall site design to present information more clearly, no matter how you access metro.net.

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How to use the Google Maps to plan a transit trip

There was a question posed on Twitter yesterday: is there an interactive map of the Metro system to help plan trips?

The answer: Google Maps, which has both a desktop and mobile version. Both are easy to learn. They’re not bombproof, but I’ve found Google Maps is generally pretty accurate and the most popular trip planner among Metro’s riders — the reason there was some unhappiness among our riders last week when Metro bus and train info temporarily didn’t show up on Google Maps due to a technical glitch.

That was fixed earlier this week. And the timing is good: there’s also a new version of Google Maps available for desktop computers. It’s not a radical makeover, but has a cleaner appearance than earlier versions.

Many of you likely know this already, but I thought I would run through it for new riders or those who haven’t used the Google tools before. Here’s how to use both the desktop and mobile versions as an interactive trip planner:

1. Go to Google Maps on your web browser at https://maps.google.com/ if you’re on a desktop. If on a smartphone, download the Google Maps app for either Android or iPhone.

2. If using the desktop version, Google Maps will take an educated guess at your current location according to your computer’s IP address; if you want a different location, just type it in the search bar at the top left corner of the screen.

On the mobile version, click on the arrow at the bottom right corner of your screen to get your current location. Then double tap to zoom in.

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Google Transit once again showing Metro bus and train routes

And they're back! Google Transit appears to be showing Metro bus and rail routes once again.

A technical glitch dating to last week had resulted in Metro being dropped from the popular Google Transit tool, meaning some of our riders were getting some very interesting and often out-of-the-way advice when trying to plan their transit trips.

Thanks everyone for their patience!


Metro data outage on Google Transit should be resolved soon, according to Google

As some of our riders may have noticed, Google Transit is still not displaying Metro bus and rail service. The problem dates to last week and involves an issue with the transfer of data from Metro to Google.

Google provided Metro with an update on Monday morning and said they are working to resolve the problem — and it should be resolved very soon.

In the meantime, we appreciate your patience. To help you get around in the meantime, you can contact Metro at 323.GO.METRO (323.466.3876) and speak with an agent who can assist you with your travel needs, or you can visit Metro.net and use Trip Planner.

In the meantime, we also urge you to take current recommendations from Google Transit with a grain of salt. Here's a 3.5-hour trip it just provided me between my current location (L.A. Union Station) and downtown Long Beach:

 

Metro transit info currently not available on Google Transit

More than a few people have noticed that Google Transit hasn’t been showing Metro transit info lately. Metro routinely sends Google revised data concerning routes and schedules, and the process of updating data is mostly automated.

In this case, there was a transfer failure and Google is working to correct the problem. It is anticipated that they will have Metro’s transit info available again by next Monday, August 26, if not before.

To help you get around in the meantime, you can contact Metro at 323.GO.METRO (323.466.3876) and speak with an agent who can assist you with your travel needs, or you can visit Metro.net and use Trip Planner.

Poll results thus far: transit riders mixed on whether Google Glass should be allowed aboard buses and trains

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Above are the results thus far of our unscientific (as always) poll on how transit riders feel about other transit riders wearing Google Glass in the future with some of the comments below.

Thus far, the results are very mixed and indicate that Google Glass may have a little work to do in the marketing department. I’ll keep the poll open for those interested in this topic and haven’t voted yet.

Also, from our original post:

Here’s a fun story in last week’s New Yorker about one of those testers and his experiences. As the story explains, having the functions of a smartphone sitting on your face (for lack of a better term) is very different animal than having the functions of a smartphone in your hand or pocket.

As the article also notes, some establishments have already banned Google Glass because they don’t want users surreptitiously taking photos through glasses either for legal reasons (an art gallery may not own the rights to the art it displays) or for the sake of their clientele (patrons at a bar, for example).

Take our poll: how do you feel about fellow transit riders wearing Google Glass?

Google Glass. Photo by Antonio Zugaldia, via Flickr creative commons.

In recent months, I’ve been reading with increasing curiosity about Google Glass, the glasses developed by Google which allow users to view the internet and take photos and videos. They are not on the market yet, but Google has been providing them to some members of the public for test runs.

Here’s a fun story in last week’s New Yorker about one of those testers and his experiences. As the story explains, having the functions of a smartphone sitting on your face (for lack of a better term) is very different animal than having the functions of a smartphone in your hand or pocket.

As the article also notes, some establishments have already banned Google Glass because they don’t want users surreptitiously taking photos through glasses either for legal reasons (an art gallery may not own the rights to the art it displays) or for the sake of their clientele (patrons at a bar, for example).

If Google Glass becomes popular, I’m curious about how transit riders view the devices. Are they just another cool gadget building on the advances of smartphones? Or do you think they’re overly obtrusive and a violation of whatever privacy you have left when riding public transport?

Take the poll and feel free to comment please; one comment per customer please.

Metro’s mobile app — downloaded over 200,000 times and update coming soon!

Go Metro start-up screen

Go Metro v2.2.4 on iPhones

Hi Readers,

This is a quick update on our mobile app, Go Metro Los Angeles. The app recently surpassed 220,000 downloads. The device breakdown is roughly:

  • Over 100,000 times by Android devices
  • Over 120,000 times by iPhone/iPad devices

Additionally, 15 percent of all Apple downloads are from international customers (top countries: Canada, Australia, Germany, UK, France), while seven percent of all Android downloads are from international customers (top countries: Korea, Australia, UK, Mexico, Canada).

A new update of the app will be available for download the week of June 24th with these improvements:

  • Nextrip Rail Info (real-time rail arrivals)
  • June 2013 'shake-up' schedules (scheduled data automatically displays when cell data or wifi is not available)
  • Larger walking distance of up to one mile (by customer request – we heard you)
  • and some user interface revisions

I am including a few preview screen shots of the updated app showing Rail real time arrivals and scheduled arrivals. Work will also begin on Version 3.0 (a brand new version) of the app in July 2013, with a tentative release for Spring 2014.

The app integrates data, design, functionality, and real-time news from many Metro departments: Service Development & Performance Analysis, Creative Services Design Studio, Customer Relations, COO's Office, Construction Relations, Metro Library, Media Relations and Bicycle Planning. The app is designed and managed by Communications Web & Mobile Group.

Real time rail arrivals

Real time rail arrivals

Scheduled rail arrivals

Scheduled rail arrivals