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Where's the Nearest Bus Stop? Check iPhone App
Monday, February 08, 2010 3:09 PM  


Screen shot of iPhone app of Ride HoustonA former Houstonian has developed an iPhone application that will instantly tell you the nearest METRO bus and rail stops to your current location.

Called Ride Houston, the app is designed to make it easier to find the right bus or train. Brian Leonard, a software developer who works for a start-up in the Boston area, says he got the idea for this app after moving to Boston and using public transit there.

"When I lived in Humble, I saw the Park & Ride and never used it, but now I think I would if I lived back in Humble," said Leonard in a telephone interview. "I saw the need and want to encourage people to use METRO."

Leonard developed the Boston app, dubbed "To a T" (The T is Bostonians' nickname for the subway) and has sold about 1,000 apps since its release last June.

After living in Manhattan and now Boston, Leonard says he prefers sitting on a bus or train, rather than driving.

"With a little more information, it's possible to take a bus. One of the worst things about transit is, ‘If I go out there, how long am I going to wait?' It's the unknown that's the killer," said Leonard. "If you have a known situation, 10 minutes feels like five. So bringing that information mobile is great."

Here's how Ride Houston works.

The software finds your present location through GPS technology. Then press a button, and red push pins pop up on a map, indicating every bus stop near your location.

A blue dot represents where you are currently located.

Pick a bus stop closest to you. It links seamlessly to Google Maps. Hit "direction" and then type in where you want to go. You'll get detailed walking and riding directions to your destination, including departure and arrival times.

Rik Deere, director of IT Application Support at METRO, said he stumbled across Ride Houston when he wondered if anyone had developed an app and did a Google search.

"It has a very nicely organized Apple interface to pull up all the schedules rather than going through a browser," said Deere. "It has all the information about METRO that I need right there in my iPhone. Very cool, very handy."

Leonard says Ride Dallas just went up last Tuesday, and he's working on Ride Austin.

About 100 people have already downloaded Ride Houston, which will also work with the iPad, said Leonard. You can download Ride Houston for $2.99 through the iTunes App Store. To see screenshots of the app, click here.





DominicMazoch said:

I thought the "T" was the nickname for the WHOLE MBTA, including commuter, heavy, and lght rail plus bus.

# February 9, 2010 7:30 AM

DominicMazoch said:

In fact, you gan get an official MBTA shirt with most of the routes on it.  It states:  "I went to Boston and got this T shirt:

# February 9, 2010 7:31 AM

Mary Sit said:

I asked a long-time Boston resident and former journalist who uses the T every day how she would define usage of the T. Here's her answer:  

"I think of the T as a reference for the whole system. - T as being short for MBTA. But I don't say I'm taking the T when I'm taking the bus. So in my opinion, it has two usages. One to refer to the system as a whole. As in "the T sucks." The other to refer to the trains in particular. As in "walking is faster than taking the T," says Pam.

As a former Boston resident, I referred to the T whenever I was taking a train, not a bus.

# February 9, 2010 1:59 PM

don y said:

When I was stationed in Boston a long time ago it was called the MTA.The Kingston trio had a song about it.

# February 9, 2010 2:28 PM

DominicMazoch said:

Also, are not all MBTA buses and railcars have the "T-Ball" logo?  That might be where the nickname comes from.

What the T does have is color coded services.  I do believe, for example, commuter rail cars and engines are colored PURPLE.  

And how is the Charlie Card working?  (The T version of Q.)

# February 10, 2010 12:22 AM

DominicMazoch said:

Went to the MBTA site.  To the left of the Mass. Bay Transit Authority is a big T ball logo.  So I guess the T is for all transit in the Boston area.

# February 10, 2010 10:11 PM
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