TransLink iPhone App Available at m.translink.ca
More TransLink mobile integration heroism from the folks at Handi Mobility here in Vancouver: Igor Faletski today officially announces something I knew unofficially-officially yesterday via Twitter: m.translink.ca as viewed in the iPhone is a web application that gives transit riders quick access to bus, SkyTrain, West Coast Express, and SeaBus information in a pleasing interface. Users of the site can bookmark not just most-used routes but individual stops along that route, and the bookmarks themselves show the next 3 scheduled buses to arrive at that stop. It's already came in handy with a couple of trips last night. No more sending text messages and waiting to receive them for information the next bus! Now I just wait as long as the Internet takes to deliver the information.
I love the nice TransLink logo icon for when you "Add to Home Screen" and the bookmarking functionality. What, I don't have to sign up for an account to do that? Neat! I like the iconography at the top, though it's too bad there's no distinctively "Vancouver" bus that one can play off of. I like the alert bar at the top, but who has seen it change on the website? Maybe the one or two times it snows we'll get a notification that SkyTrain is down again. The part of the web app I'm not feeling is landscape mode: my expectation for landscape mode, iPod app aside (and even there it bothers me) is to see the regular portrait mode screen but wider and/or bigger text. In the case of the TransLink web app, it delivers city transit maps (and miscapitalizes the name of the regional transit authority) and in PDF form. Is it just me or can I not zoom in on them? Regardless, I don't see myself using the maps all that much. Transit is more point-to-point (how do I get from GM Place to Lougheed Mall?) than trying to find myself and where I need to go on a static map. More integration, if possible, with Google Maps' directions (or Google Transit) is needed, though Apple and/or Google have some work to get that happening.
I'm looking forward to the fully-qualified app that one can download from the App store, which promises location-awareness ("show me the buses that stop near me") and getting the Buzzer blog (coming October 6th, evidently, at buzzer.translink.ca) on the iPhone through the app. Also promised, according to a post over at Techvibes, "rider-feedback", which presumably includes a panic button or the ability to tell Coast Mountain Bus Company that their operators are taking personal calls while driving. And, hopefully, point out the awesome drivers as well.