[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.
- 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.
- 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.
Here are screens for the iPhone app due next week:
Unfortunately I cannot find Go Metro – Los Angeles at the App Store. I went to the App Store using my iPhone and did a search, but found no results with the name ‘Go Metro – Los Angeles’
Has anyone else encounter the same problem?
We’re still working on the last technical revisions with the App Store. Thanks for your enthusiasm and patience — we can’t wait to get the app out there too.
Just so people understand the memory/space issue: a lot of pay as you go phones in the $100 range only come with 512 mb of fixed memory. This small amount of (unchangeable) memory is largely taken up by software the cell phone service provider pre-installs on the phone and any attempt to delete these applications disables the phone. Someone comfortable with computer programming can get around these things, but the average user would probably end up bricking her/his phone.
So realistically, one only has a fraction of that 512 mb on your average inexpensive smartphone to work with. One can add memory via an sd card, but not all programs can be installed on this card. This new Metro app is just such a program that cannot be installed on the expansion card. According to an earlier commenter, once the program is installed and the maps downloaded, it takes up 50 mb of space. According to my phone, google maps takes up 4.6 mb of space (3.5 for the application and 1.1 for memory).
It’s not so much that I or other Metro riders with low end smartphones *need* this application, though I was looking forward to trying it. It would have been nice if Metro could at least acknowledge up front that they paid for the design of an app that overlooks users who do not have the most recent (and more expensive) technology.
Thanks for providing context. We are looking into a light version of the app that will not require as much space on smartphones.
I think this is a great idea. Working in the transportation industry, I find that alot of people do not have a clue on how to get anywhere in Los Angeles. It is a necessity that people begin to start using the public transit system account of continuing traffic and gas price increases, it is only feasible for commuters to take public transit. I myself save over 250 a month taking the gold line into work and not have to worry about traffic, gas, or parking permits.
Some may think that this is not a “feasible” option account of the memory size. It costs more to drive than it is to pay for a new memory card. Plain and simple.
Now if you guys can find a way to get Wi-Fi on the subways and in Los Angeles Union Station…then I would take the subway everywhere that I could. Keep up the good work!
Love the app. It’s simple, it uses an interface that’s appealing and, best of all, it’s free!
Some suggestions for Axiom and LA Metro:
– Since the app can tap into your location (GPS), can it give us the option to use our current location when we’re planning trips? It’s a hassle typing in where you’re at when you can just get the app to read your GPS.
– Allow users to select specific alerts. LA Metro is HUGE (yay and still growing!) so to get something from downtown when I only use west-side transportation is pretty much treated like spam.
– I know you guys are getting bids and we’re a long ways off, but wi-fi in our subways would accompany this app beautifully. I’m just hoping this comment is just another one to help nudge the process along 🙂
I like the idea, and this is definitely a step in the right direction. Here are my major gripes with the app and why I will still be using the app RailBandit:
1. Trip Planner requires internet access and a time and day must be specified. If I’m in the subway or somewhere where I don’t have internet access, I won’t be able to see when the next bus or train should be arriving. Obviously NexTrip will require internet access, but I see no reason why you shouldn’t be able to download the timetables for certain routes and lines in advance to enable offline trip checking.
2. Favoriting a trip does not work unless you click the star after searching (not intuitive), and a time and day must be specified (do I really have to make a favorite for the same line every effing day of the week???). Every day when I’m about to finish work I check RailBandit, and it allows the option for you to check previously saved routes, and will automatically display the most recently upcoming trains with an extra step required to check for trains on a different day. I think metro has it backwards to always ask what time you want it for instead of just displaying the next upcoming buses/trains and providing for an extra step if you want to look at a future dated trip. If I’m planning a future dated trip, I’m WAY more likely to be using a computer rather than an app.
3. Not possible to subscribe to service alerts for only certain lines. The vast majority of the time, I only need to know service alerts for one or two lines. By sending me EVERY service alert, I’m getting way way way more information than I need.
This app will probably work for the casual user, but for the everyday commuter the functionality breaks down. On the weekend I might use this, especially for the NextTrip functionality, but the vast majority of the time that I ride metro, which is for my daily commute, this app is useless.
Also, how the hell does trip planner not recognize what ‘7th and Metro’ is in Trip Planner search! This is one of the most popular stations, and the app has no idea what it is. It would be ideal if I could favorite locations and select these from the drop down in Trip Planner, but alas this functionality does not exist.
I’d love to use this and have the space for it on my sd card. But my low budget smartphone lacks the room for this application. It seems rather shortsighted to put out an app that won’t fit on the less fancy smartphones. Know your user demographics!
[…] Image via The Source […]
Allon: Big blue is in the software routing (at least for the routes I tested).
[…] The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (CA) launched a new mobile application for Android devices, iPhones, and iPads. Called Go Metro Los Angeles, the free app provides real-time Nextrip bus-arrival information and scheduled train arrival times. The app displays scheduled bus information when Internet access is not available. Other features include a trip planner, downloadable maps, and GPS-based information about the closest bus and rail stops. Users can also sign up for service alerts and notifications. Built from the ground up, this app updates the original Go Metro app which was developed almost two years ago. Link to full story in The Source. […]
“From Metro’s perspective, this is perhaps understandable. As far as they are concerned, if it is not a Metro service, it does not exist. But from the Westside customer’s perspective, this is absurd.”
You’ve got Google Maps for Big Blue Bus.
“it would be a lot better if the bus stop location has a screen that say how many minutes is left for the bus to come.”
It would be very expensive to install a screen at every bus stop. Only the major stops will have this.
One small problem with this app: it omits something like 75% of public transportation west of the 405 (all of Big Blue Bus and Culver Bus, for instance). It’s a Metro app rather than an LA County public transportation app.
From Metro’s perspective, this is perhaps understandable. As far as they are concerned, if it is not a Metro service, it does not exist. But from the Westside customer’s perspective, this is absurd.
Parochialism triumphs again.
I don’t like this idea because not everyone has a iphone including me. it would be a lot better if the bus stop location has a screen that say how many minutes is left for the bus to come. i’ve seen this at santa monica and sherman oaks but i wasn’t able to see it in the san fernando valley area. since i don’t have a iphone, i always have to text to my phone in order for me to know how many minutes is left for the bus to come but sometimes it’s not accurate and i like walking because i get bored when the bus doesn’t come right away so i text when the bus is going to come so i got a text back and it said 15 minutes so i walk one block and the bus is passing by. how frustrating. i really don’t like this idea. I would suggest that every bus stop location should have some kind of screen that people know when the bus is arriving. people are always complaining why the bus driver came so late and people get so angry.
While it is nice that an app was developed, unfortunately a different developer should have been chosen than the same one used for Metro’s website. A tool will not suddenly become popular because the platform is changed. I never used Metro’s website tool. The smartphone app is bloated, lacks aesthetics and simplicity, and the usefulness of Google’s transit navigation app. Features that are useful are vibration before you get to your stop and real arrival times. I don’t care about maps or other useless things. It would have been a far more cost effective use of tax payer dollars to simply share your real-time arrival data with Google so Google’s tool would be as useful in LA as it is in SF or Portland. Basically not worth the download time.
It won’t install on Ice Cream Sandwich 🙁 Fix it please? Or better yet, open source it and maybe I can fix it for you.
The app should work on Ice Cream Sandwich, there are other customers who appear to be successfully using the app on their devices running Ice Cream Sandwich. Would you help us by providing the following information:
One of the web-based versions of Nextrip I like to use is TransSee.
It counts down by the second, tells you the 4-digit number of the bus that’s going to come (helps if you want low-floor buses only, for instance), and you could bookmark your most frequent stops to save trips you make regularly.
I don’t have space to install the app. Until I get a new phone, I’ll stick with the HTML 5.0-enabled nextbus.com that also includes UCLA Bruin Bus estimates.
A warning for Android owners: this app is big for a phone — 10.5 MB. Then it gets bigger when it tries to unpack about 32 MB of files. It only addresses the main memory and won’t move to an SD card.
I’ll save the technical problems for the app’s forum. However this could be a show-stopper for the typical user with an aging Android phone.
Thanks for providing your feedback! The app is designed to provide scheduled data when you’re offline (the app will display scheduled arrivals when you don’t have network coverage) — with 15,000 bus stops and 70+ rail stations, you can imagine the data is large.
We will consider your recommendation for a future release.
FINALLY! I can’t wait to try it out. I hate having to use a billion other services to find out when a bus is coming. It would be great if it tied into the GPS trackers on the buses for the most accurate appraisals of when a bus is going to arrive (who knows maybe it does have that) because while Google maps is helpful, there are a lot of times you think you missed a bus when in fact it’s just that the bus is 10 minutes late. (per usual)
Just downloaded the app, it runs well. There’s some room for improvement but I’ll use the feedback form. What’s really really great about this app though is how many separate services it ties into it. Instead of switching from a twitter feed bookmark for service alerts, a nextbus.com bookmark for real-time arrivals and google maps for bus stop location. It’s all in one handy app.