Friday, December 19, 2014

App Happy

Here are a few apps that can take some of the guess work out of getting around town sans-car:

RTA Bus Watch
This is a website, not an app, but RTA promises an official app in 2015. Until, then you can bookmark the mobile version of this website and create a homepage shortcut on your phone.

After you select “Mobile Device Arrival Times,” you will receive a prompt to choose the appropriate route and stop. The website will then provide the next three stop times. I usually use this website when I’m already at the bus stop and can’t tell if the bus is running late or was running early and I already missed it.

I thought everyone knew about the bus feature on the GoogleMaps app, but my baby sister who is bus bound since her car caught on fire, didn’t know this feature existed. GoogleMaps lets you toggle between car, bus, bike and walk as your modes of transportation. Simply plug in where you’re at and where you want to go, then tap the bus icon. Once the map loads, tap the bus icon again, and you will be shown a list of bus routes and travel times. Scroll down far enough and there is a shortcut to open your Uber app.

If you tap “Depart At,” you will be taken to a menu that allows you to choose between depart, arrive and last as options. You can also select the day and time.

If you tap on “Options,” you will see a menu that gives you the option to select your preferred mode of transportation and the ability to prioritize your route by best, fewer transfers or less walking.

If you’re using your computer, you can actually pull your bike route up on the Google Maps website and it will generate a graph that shows you how many feet down hill and how many feet up hill your route is. This comes in handy if you’re trying to decide between multiple bike routes.

TripGo is an app that you can sync with your daily schedule. Plug in home, work, school or any place you need to get to regularly and then create your agenda in your calendar and TripGo will plan out your route for the entire day, whether it be bus, bike or car.

If you’re lucky enough to be in a highly walkable area, you can use WunderWalk to plot out your own personalized walking tour. Plug in a few things in your interested in eating, drinking or seeing and WunderWalk will populate a route for you. This can also be a great vacation app.


This last app may seem silly to some, but I often rely on my Weather app to tell me when the sun is going to set. Whether I’m trying to get home before dark or deciding whether or not to head out on a bike ride this app comes in handy.

What are some of your favorite apps for getting around town? Share the wealth in the comments!!


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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Quick Hits for December

A few posts are working their way through the pipeline, including photos and analysis of Riverside's first (one-block-long) protected bikeway and a presentation on the big bike grant for downtown, but I wanted to get a couple of things posted.

First, Streetsblog is running a contest to show off the most-transformed street in America in 2014. San Bernardino is one of their finalists, with a beautiful before-and-after shot of sbX on E Street. Show the IE some love and go vote!

Second, Omnitrans just announced a new Veteran's fare category, which allows retired military veterans to ride at the Disabled price, and will institute a new policy allowing active-duty military members, as well as uniformed police and firefighters, to ride free. While this is an undoubtedly positive move, I question the wisdom of putting together yet another fare category. In Canada and other places, they simply have a single "Concession" fare, and riders are asked to demonstrate their eligibility for the fare to purchase passes or during fare inspection. This has to be cheaper than printing four different types of fare media.