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

 

Go Metro mobile app update and a few tips

A round-up of notes on Metro's mobile app – Go Metro Los Angeles. What? You didn't know Metro had a mobile app, go get it — it's FREE!

iPhone software update screen

iPhone software update screen

1. A new version is available for download for iPhones, iPads and Androids. If you already have the app, you should have received an update notice on your respective devices. Customers pointed out the last update had a strange error of displaying arrival times out of order. Metro mobile developers tracked down the bug and quickly fixed it — however, submitting changes to the App Store and waiting for approval is another story. We appreciate all the feedback coming in via the app, emails, Twitter and Facebook.

2. Metro's mobile app has been downloaded more than 100,000 times by mobile users. Last checked — just over 55,000+ downloads for Android devices and 57,000+ downloads for iPhone devices. If you currently have the app, I'd love to hear from you — what do you like and hate about the app? What would you like to see in the future?

3. There are no current plans to build a Windows or Blackberry version. Sorry Windows and BB users — this is not out of preference, but rather budget and resources. Our online metrics indicate both Windows and BB customers make up less than three percent of online usage. BTW: as of last month (Dec 2012), over 50 percent of all web traffic visiting metro.net is coming from a mobile device — almost equally split between Android and iOS.

Fret not, there are alternatives for Windows and Blackberry users — have you tried Metro's mobile website, m.metro.net?

Continue reading

Update available for Go Metro Los Angeles app for smartphones

The update was posted earlier this week to the iTunes store. Here are the links for the iPhone app, the iPad app and the Android app.

Here’s a rundown of the revisions:

iPhone/iPad

•Compatible with iOS6
•Schedule data is updated
•New iPad-centric user interface
•Minor bug fixes

Android

•Schedule data is updated

Also, I wanted to help explain one screen that users may find confusing when using the map to determine when the next train is leaving. For example, let’s say you use the map function to determine you’re at Union Station and you want to find what time the next few Gold Line trains are leaving. The app shows you this screen:

The easiest way to understand this is pay attention to the station mentioned in each line. In the first line above, the app is you telling that a Sierra Madre Villa-bound train is arriving at Union Station at 1:01 p.m.

The second line is confusing because there is a train arriving at Union Station at 7:52 p.m. — but it’s headed out of service, thus the reason there’s no ultimate destination. That’s a programming glitch that is being fixed.

The third line is telling you that a train bound for Atlantic Station is arriving at Union Station at 1:04 p.m.

Another example for the Red/Purple Line subway from Union Station:

Above, ignore the first and third lines — they’re only telling you what times that Red Line and Purple Line trains are arriving at Union Station. The information you probably want is when trains are leaving Union Station! That’s in the second line — showing the next train to North Hollywood at 1:22 p.m.  For the Purple Line, the info is in the fourth line, which shows the next train bound for Wilshire/Western leaving at 1:17 p.m.

Finally, how do you like the Go Metro app? Any suggestions? Comment please.

Go Metro Mobile App Update for iPhone and Android – Download Now!

A new version of Metro’s mobile app for iPhones and Androids is available for download! Go Metro Los Angeles v2.2 is a significant update with new features and technical upgrades. Some of the new features are described below.

Download from App Store Now
Download from Google Play Now

Android & iPhone

Go Metro v2.2 for iPhone

Go Metro v2.2 for iPhone

  • Mode specific icons for Bus and Rail
    Now when you click the Nearby feature, you’ll see separate graphic icons denoting Bus Stops vs Rail Stations.
  • “Refresh” arrival times for Bus Stops
    Let’s say you’ve favorited your most used Bus Stops (by clicking the Start button in the toolbar). Now by clicking the ‘Refresh’ button, revised Nextrip arrivals times will display on command.
  • Station amenities for Rail Stations
    There is a new button in the Rail Stations screens that will display detailed information about a station, including the number of bike lockers, bike racks, free parking spots and paid parking spots.
  • Save a Trip Planner itinerary and view offline
    Now when you save an itinerary, you’ve saved it offline onto the device and may view it without internet connection. This is useful if you are traveling in our Rail system or when internet connection has dropped.
  • User Interface updates for all versions
    Small user interface updates to make the app more pretty and consistent in the News and More screen :)

Android Only

  • When installing the app, Android customers can choose to save the app on a SD Card rather than the device
    The app is not huge, per se, but the scheduling data that supports the app is. This feature is a response to customers who have older Androids (or devices with tons of apps) that were filling up memory-wise and this option allows the customers to decide where they want to install the app.

iPhone Only

  • View Stops / Stations nearby me on a map or a list
    A feature already in the Android version, a new button allows you to view the closest Metro stops/stations visually on a map or a text list. Some customers are accustomed to viewing a map, some customers appreciate a list.

Check out some screen grabs after the jump!

New Go Metro app now available in iTunes store for iPhone

The Go Metro app finally landed in the iTunes store and is now available for free download for iPhones. The app is also available for iPads.

The app has also been available for Android smartphones in the Android Play store since late last month.

Here’s our post from last month explaining the many new features on Go Metro, Version 2. And here’s the news release posted on metro.net.

Please download the app and let us know what you think.

Go Metro Android update with Expo Line added, and iPhone app update

Go Metro app in Google Play

Go Metro app in Google Play

[UPDATE] The Android app update is available for download NOW (!) from Google Play.

As many of you know, the new Go Metro smartphone app recently debuted in the Android store — here’s a Source post about the app’s many fine features. Since then, we’ve received some great feedback and have already submitted an update for the Android app. The update will include:

  • Adding the new Expo Rail Line to the transit data
  • Allowing the app to install on the SD Card, rather than the mobile device (just the app, not the database. We’ll work on allowing the database on SD card for June — in time for the Orange Line opening).
  • Performing an internal storage check before installing the app and database (this will save you a crash when you try to launch the app but there isn’t enough space on your device).

iPhone / iPad

As for iOS, we’re working to get the iPhone version of the app to the public as soon as possible. As of today, we’re still working on final technical revisions with the Apple Store’s technical staff. It’s a day-to-day process, but we hope to have this resolved soon.

Thanks for your interest and enthusiasm and we can’t wait to get you the app!

Metro launches new smartphone app — Android available now, iPhone and iPad next week

Go Metro for Android - Nearby and Nextrip screens

Go Metro on Android: Nearby feature and Nextrip data integrated into bus stops

[UPDATE] We’re still working on the final technical revisions with the Apple Store’s Tech / QA group. Its a day-to-day process, but we hope to have this resolved soon. Thanks for your enthusiasm and we can’t wait to get you the app.
– Lan-Chi Lam (Metro Web & Mobile Manager)

The wait is almost over — after extensive beta-testing, Metro’s new app is available in Android Play (formerly Android Market), and will be available in the Apple App Store next week. The new app – built from the ground-up – is called Go Metro Los Angeles, and is available for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.

Metro’s first app was a chance for the agency to dip its toe into smartphone technology. This app, however, is a full-fledged effort to marry technology to transit and to make it easier for people to quick get the information they need to travel around town.

Full feature description and more screen shots can be seen on metro.net, but here are some highlights:

  • The app is free and is available for download NOW(!) in Android Play, and the Apple App Store next week.
  • The new app was built new from the ground up and will run on Android devices running OS 2.1 and up. On the iPhone and iPad, iOS 3.1 and up is required.
  • The new app can quickly access your location via your phone’s GPS and then show you the closest bus and rail stops. Want the phone to show you, for example, transit stops within 100 feet, 300 or 500 feet of your current location? Just select the distance in the app’s preferences.
Go Metro for Android - Nextrip and scheduled arrivals

Go Metro on Android: Nextrip bus arrivals and scheduled rail arrivals

  • Tap a transit stop on your map and the app will show you Nextrip real-time bus arrival information (if you’re on a cellular or wi-fi network) or scheduled rail arrival times. Not on a cellular network or wi-fi? You still will get a list of scheduled arrival times. By the way, we anticipate that Nextrip real-time rail arrival times will be available later this year.
  • Plan a trip from your location. Metro’s Trip Planner is integrated into the new app. Users can also “favorite” an itinerary.
Go Metro for Android - Trip Plan and Alerts

Go Metro on Android: Plan a trip from your location and select an alert

  • Users can download up to 170 different maps of bus and train routes as well as a bike map — and the maps can be used even when you don’t have any kind of internet connection. If your downloaded map has been updated by Metro, the app will send you an alert so that you can re-download the map within the app.
  • The app allows users to set up and receive alerts for Metro bus and rail, as well as road closures. Service Alerts, Planned Advisories, Destination Discounts, Fare information, Customer Center locations and Lost & Found info are integrated in the app. Alerts and notifications may be turned on and off in the app’s preferences — it’s up to you to decide what you want to receive.
  • Users can save a transit line, bus stop/train station, map or itinerary for fast access. It’s easy to remove and edit your favorites list in the settings part of the app.

Metro wants your feedback and comments to make the app better. Please use our online feedback form. You can also use the app to email Metro’s tech team any bugs you find — this can be done in the “More” section of the app. The app automatically collects your app and OS version to help Metro troubleshoot the problem.

iPhone screen shots after the jump.  Continue reading

The art of transit

Drawing by Lise Petrauskas, via Flickr creative commons

We usually post photos in our daily “art of transit.” But I’m more than happy to post drawings and paintings when they’re good and I can find them. This one was done on Adobe Ideas for Illustration.

Even if you can’t draw to save your life, there’s some great software out there to transform photos into drawings and paintings. I used Photoshop Elements to recently make this photo of the Gold Line look more like a drawing. I got even better results using Elements to transform an iPhone photo of Pioneer Basin Lake #1 in the Sierra’s John Muir Wilderness into something that looks like a painting. Try some of the different effects found on the right side of the screen on Elements — I like the “fresco” effect.

Photos can also be heavily altered with Snapseed for iPad — here’s one of the Mesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley National Park. I like combos of the “vintage,” “drama” and “grunge” effects.

Of course, all of these could be used to swiftly and artfully make your photos of local mass transit look a lot better. And then you can show them off to the entire world right here on The Source.

To submit a photo for the Art of Transit, post it to Metro’s Flickr group, email it to sourcemetro@gmail.com or Tweet it to @metrolosangeles with an #artoftransit hashtag. Many of the photos we’ve featured can be seen in these galleries on Flickr.

Metro iPhone app removed from App Store in anticipation of new (improved) app

Oops!

Oops! But a better app is on its way.

A number of readers have contacted us regarding the recent disappearance of the Go Metro iPhone app from the iTunes App Store.

Indeed the app is no longer available – Metro removed it because a new and improved official app is on the way. The new app is scheduled for release in October/November and will address many of the issues users complained about in the original. Additionally, the app will be multi-platform – available for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

A few key features of the new app include:

  • Closest stations/stops based on GPS location
  • Real time bus arrivals
  • Scheduled info offline (does not need wifi)
  • Maps offline (does not need wifi)
  • Service Alert notification
  • Favorite a map, line, stop/station, trip itinerary

Stay tuned for a sneak preview and screen shots of the new app. In the meantime head over to Metro’s Mobile Resources page and download one of the award winning apps from the Developer Challenge or test out any of the other third party apps.

Five new apps from the winners of Metro's Developer Challenge

Smart Ride shows real time bus arrivals on handy map interface.

Smart Ride shows real time bus arrivals on handy map interface.

Back in March we told you about Metro’s Developer Challenge – an invitation to developers to create apps using Metro’s open transit data for a chance to win some big cash prizes.

Well, a few months have passed, the clever developers have worked their magic and Metro’s judges have chosen the winners. Here they are (with some brief commentary on the apps I’ve tried out):

Best Mobile App: L.A. Metro Alerts by Ross MacFarland (Android)

Ross MacFarland has developed an Android app that “Provides NextBus arrival times to Android phones. Highlights include bookmarking of stops and the ability to get alerts when buses/trains are a desired amount of time away.”

I don’t have an Android device and haven’t had the chance to test this app, but here’s what Metro’s judges had to say: “A great app that’s easy to use…just pick it up and use the tool – all very intuitive.”

Best NextBus Mobile App: Smart Ride By Aaron Bannert (iOS)

Aaron Bannert taps into realtime NextBus data for his app Smart Ride which “Allows the user to access nearby routes and stops, check real-time arrival predictions, track the progress along a route, and watch for transit alerts. A Favorites list can also be created for easy access to one’s favorite stops.”

Of all the apps I tried, this is my favorite. The interface is simple and the functionality is robust. For mobile iOS (iPhone, iPad) users, this app is a godsend! It uses GPS data to round up nearby stops and lists the next three arrival times (real time) for each stop. One of my favorite features in the map mode, which lets you view all nearby stops (and upcoming arrivals) from a Google Maps interface. Another fantastic feature for regular riders: stops can be saved so you can find out when your next bus is coming without any hassle.

Here’s how the Metro judges describe the app: “Has a great look and feel, and provides a route and stop selection process that is easy to use.”

Best Mobile App (College): CSULA Transit by Robert Martin and Andrew Greene (iOS)

Cal State L.A. developers Robert Martin and Andrew Greene win the college category with this iOS app that “Displays real-time updates for all buses arriving at the Cal State LA campus using NextBus prediction services. Also displays upcoming Metrolink train arrivals.”

The app includes the major transit stops for CSULA including the University Transit Center, El Monte Busway and Cal State Metrolink Station. Users can click on their stop and find the next trip times for all arriving transit. The software is simple, focused and fast. Should be a boon for transit oriented Cal State coeds.

Here’s what Metro judges had to say: ““A simple yet user-friendly app with a design well suited for handhelds.”

Don’t have a smart phone? Check out the best web mashups after the jump. Continue reading