Mailbag!

Jan 6, 2011 at 1:33 AM

We pay close attention to the reviews that we get in the Zune marketplace.  I thought I'd take some time to answer common issues.

 

"You don't support my city :-("

If you're not in the Seattle area, indeed -- no, we don't.  Sorry.   We only support the areas indicated here: http://onebusaway.org/where/standard/agencies.action

Why, you ask?  Because every transit agency that supports real-time tracking of their buses does so differently.  There is no common standard for these data.  OneBusAway federates this data from several transit agencies in the Seattle area.  Integration with each agency requires custom development.   If you would like to bring OneBusAway to your city, please refer to the guide at http://onebusaway.org/p/HowToBringOneBusAwayToYourCity.action

Technical note: the General Transit Feed Specification (http://code.google.com/transit/spec/transit_feed_specification.html) is an emerging standard for transit schedules, but does not currently include any real-time trip data.  OneBusAway depends on GTFS data for knowing the bus routes and schedules. 

 

 

"The service is down a lot"

OneBusAway on your Windows Phone 7 relies on backend infrastructure hosted by the University of Washington.  It is a research project for several students led by Brian Ferris.  (See http://onebusaway.org/p/Research.action).  Hosting is provided by the UW CS department out of the goodness of their hearts (and possibly some research grants).  With growing local popularity, but not much in the way of a budget, there's a lot of load on the backend servers, and not a lot of spare capacity.

The client on your phone is developed by the folks here (http://onebusawaywp7.codeplex.com/team/view) in our spare time.  For free.  You paid nothing for this app.  We intend to keep it that way.  Note that we are not directly affiliated with the OneBusAway folks at the UW, although we are in contact with them about issues / future directions / etc.

Given that this is a free service hosted by an educational institution with a shoestring budget at best, please be patient if service is down.  The most timely place to check for updates is the OneBusAway Twitter feed.  http://twitter.com/onebusaway

 

 

"I can't search for directions from point A to point B"

Indeed, no, you can't.  OneBusAway is primarily focused on putting real-time data in the hands of transit riders.  This data is not readily available elsewhere, or if it is, it's fragmented across different transit agencies.  Google maps will provide transit directions, but doesn't know if the bus is on time or late.  Our goal is not to replace or duplicate Google maps.

On the other hand, this is the most commonly requested feature: http://onebusaway.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Trip-Planning/43512-8715.  If the folks at UW who run the OneBusAway backend implement it, I would expect us to follow suit.

 

 

"I want a live tile for my home screen"

Yep!  This is at the top of our list for the next major release.  No promises on ETA, but this is something we're actively thinking about.

 

 

That's it for today.  Thanks for all the feedback, and don't miss your bus!