myTransit – CTA iPhone app eliminates need to check transit agency’s website

Jun 22, 2010
Shine

Like many Chicagoans, I absolutely loathe the Chicago Transit Authority. There was nothing I disliked more than sitting outside in the middle of winter waiting 25 minutes for a bus, only to see three of the same bus suddenly appear, all of them totally off schedule, thereby mucking things up for the next hour of […]

Like many Chicagoans, I absolutely loathe the Chicago Transit Authority. There was nothing I disliked more than sitting outside in the middle of winter waiting 25 minutes for a bus, only to see three of the same bus suddenly appear, all of them totally off schedule, thereby mucking things up for the next hour of transit.  That anger dissipated somewhat when the CTA announced its “Bus Tracker” program. Aimed at giving riders a heads up when their bus was going to arrive seemed like a brilliant, long overdue move. However, the CTA’s own Bus Tracker website is difficult to read on a mobile device, not to mention often incredibly slow to load.

The myTransit- CTA app (99 cents) alleviates nearly all of my previous frustrations with the Bus Tracker program by making it simple to find out when your bus is coming not only by the bus route, but also by cross street.

Suppose you want to know how many No. 72 buses are on the way? A few taps and you’ll find out. Unlike the CTA Bus Tracker page, there isn’t a constant re-loading of the app as you enter new screens. For the most part, everything is quick and self-contained.

The one exception to the app’s quickness is when you access the map feature to see exactly where on its route your bus is. The load time to check this seems to run roughly 15 to 20 seconds, even on a Wi-Fi connection; which is rather disappointing, but a minor blemish when you consider how quick and useful the rest of the app is.

The app even gives you the ability to bookmark your favorite stops, so you won’t have to search for them every single time you pull up the app. That alone is worth the 99-cent price of the app.

The only thing missing from the app is visual representation of the text ability to search by cross street. It would be great to look on the map at a cross street and see all of the buses driving down those streets. Instead, that view is limited to a bus you’ve already pre-selected.

Regardless, if you’re in Chicago and you’ve been using the CTA’s own website all this time, stop reading and make the switch immediately. This is a must-have app for any frequent bus rider.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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