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

 

Nextrip for Metro Rail now available; please let us know what you think

photo

Nextrip on an iPhone. Click above to visit Nextrip’s desktop version for Metro Rail.

The Nextrip program that currently provides real-time arrival information for bus service has been expanded to include real-time arrivals for Metro Rail.

There are multiple ways to access the Nextrip real-time train arrival information. It can be viewed on the web, via smart phone browser, by texting a Metro bus stop ID number to 41411 and via telephone by dialing 511 and saying, “Nextrip.” (A Nextrip Rail app is in development.) And coming up soon, electronic signs on the train platforms will show real-time arrival information rather than the scheduled arrival times displayed now.

While the program continues to roll out, riders should give themselves extra time to ensure they don’t miss the train. The service is brand new and still being tweaked. As always, let us know what you think. Is it working for you?

If using a smart phone to access real-time rail info, remember to enable Nextrip to use your current location if it asks. The Nextrip mobile site also allows you how to look up arrival times at all rail stations: on a smartphone, click on “menu,” then “select specific stop” and then select “Los Angeles Rail” from the next list. At that point, select the Metro Rail line and then select a station.

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?

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Nextrip website undergoing upgrades; impacting service

Here’s the news from Metro’s tech team about NexTrip:

Metro is currently upgrading its bus fleet management system (ATMS) on all of its fleet vehicles. Nextrip bus arrival service is temporarily affected during the transition, the Nextrip system is currently providing arrival predictions based on scheduled information (vs. real-time location information). Metro is working to complete the transition as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

Many of you have noticed this problem over the past couple of days. Hopefully it will be up and running soon. In the meantime, the service is either providing no updates or proving arrival times based on the schedule.

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!

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

How do they do that? Find the right routes

A call center agent at Metro.

How do they do that? is a series for The Source that explores the technology that helps keep Metro running and passengers and other commuters moving. Some of it applies directly to the trains, buses and freeways and some of it runs in the background — invisible to nearly everyone but essential to mobility in our region.

How do Metro’s call center agents find all the right trip planning answers for 8,000 customers per day?

The men and women of Metro’s call center at 323-GOMETRO (323-466-3876) always seem to have the right answers. The weird thing is that they are using the Metro Trip Planner — the same tool that we use — and coming up with much better routes.

Each day, Metro’s 20 to 55 (depending on the time of day) customer information agents answer about 8,000 calls, plus 200 texts from riders seeking assistance with bus and rail trip planning. The most common question, not surprisingly, is how to get from point A to point B. The second most common: When will the next bus arrive … the same information available on Metro’s Nextrip tool.

Questions are answered in English and Spanish but there also are staff members who speak German, French and Tagolin and the call center is currently working to increase the number of languages spoken to help additional customers.

Monday through Friday the call center is open from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The best times to call are generally midday, since peak question periods generally run 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Text message queries are answered between 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

The call center staff is located at Metro Headquarters in downtown Los Angeles but handles calls from all over the region. Not only do they answer questions about Metro’s 183 bus routes and five rail lines, but call center agents provide route, schedule and fare information for approximately 70 transit agencies in and around Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. These include the Big Blue Bus, Foothill Transit, Santa Clarita Transit, Orange County Transit, San Bernardino Omnitrans, Riverside Transit Authority and Simi Valley Transit.

And they do all this in less than 2 minutes and 30 seconds — the average length of each phone call.

How do they find great routes we can’t seem to find on our own? The answer is education, plus a handy tool that lets them override the Trip Planner computer’s answer if they want to try something creative or that integrates a particular customer route request.

Agents also undergo an extensive four- to six-week training period, both in class and on the job. And — not a small thing — they are searching and studying the streets and pathways of L.A. County all day, every day, and in the process learning the easiest and best travel routes. The good news for the rest of us is that they are happy to share.

Fred's transit notes from New York City

Brooklyn Bridge - City Hall NYC subway station.

If you read my previous post, you know I’m now living in New York City and no longer a regular contributor to The Source.

I will chime in from time to time with a guest post though, and my first such post is simply a collection of observations of New York City transit in comparison to Los Angeles from the perspective of a new resident. You can read Carter’s review of the NYC transit system from the perspective of a tourist here.

  • Buses. For the most part, the buses I’ve ridden have incredible frequency during the weekday. I’m talking service every three minutes. Off peak or during the weekends I’ve definitely found myself waiting a while. Bus service is also not immune to special events. A few weeks ago the New York Marathon put bus service in disarray and there was no good information posted at bus stops. I ended up giving up on my planned bus outing since the bus I was waiting for never showed up.
  • Nextrip? Not so much. NYC MTA is currently testing real time bus arrivals for three lines, two in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn. Aside from the fact that so few lines offer real time information, the information that is provided is not so great. Bus stops do have QR codes, but they lead to a web pages that list every stop unlike Metro’s system which leads to a page specifically for the stop that was scanned. Also, the real time information provided is not given in terms of how many minutes away a bus is but instead how many stops away a bus is. I much prefer Metro’s method. Note: I’ve only tested the real time system on the Brooklyn B63 bus line.

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Shopping plans? Go Metro and enjoy the journey!

Click above for a large version of the map.

Attention holiday shoppers! Unless you’re rising in the dead of night for Black Friday’s  ridiculously early sales, it’s a pretty good bet you have a traffic jam or — worse yet — parking lot gridlock in your holiday future. This year avoid the aggravation and let Metro take you where you need to go. And with Metro’s new late night rail service, evening shopping will be even more convenient.

Starting earlier this month, Metro’s busiest rail lines — the Metro Red, Purple and Blue lines — are running trains every ten minutes between 6 p.m. and midnight. This is nearly twice as many trains as usual. At the same time Metro is partnering with businesses, restaurants and hotels along those lines to offer Metro riders exclusive Destination Discounts for shopping, restaurants, sporting events and other entertainment.

Rail is easy to use. Just check the maps and schedules on metro.net. But maybe your shopping destination is nearer a bus line than a rail line and you’ve never in your life boarded a bus. Pull out your smart phone or fire up your computer. Nextrip, Metro’s real-time bus arrival tool, will tell you where your bus is and when it will arrive.

Here is a destinations guide with details on shopping along many of Metro’s routes. Destination Discounts deals are also available to Metro riders. For customized trip information go to the Trip Planner at metro.net.

And this holiday season enjoy the journey, as well as the season.