[UPDATE: Bruce Gray now says “We’re still receiving and testing new data sets. If all goes well, we’ll deploy the new set into OBA on Monday, the 5th.”]

You may have noticed recent persistent problems with OneBusAway reporting only scheduled arrivals on certain routes. I’ve certainly noticed them on the 24, 33, and certain other Lower Queen Anne routes over the last few weeks, as that’s what I ride the most. It turns out that this is related to an upgrade, according to ST’s Bruce Gray:

Yes, our folks have been working on a fix. We recently enhanced OneBusAway data to allow it to provide accurate information to users on reduced-service days (like the Friday after Thanksgiving). This enhancement created other problems with the data that we have been troubleshooting over the last month. We expect to have a fix in place early next year.

If it’s any consolation, the result of this disruption should be a better product.

20 Replies to “OneBusAway Fixes Coming”

  1. Thanks for the info. I had noticed both things on the 26 – no real time info for the past few weeks but accurate schedule listings for the Holiday Week.

  2. Real time arrivals for the 12 have been mostly out since around Thanksgiving. It also seems to affect the 2/10/11 but I don’t ride those as often. Randomly some of the data will feed through and it seems to be accurate, but it is very hit and miss and appears maybe 25% of the time.

    Glad to see that the fix is in the works.

  3. Good and very welcome news!

    I hope other tools, like BusDrone, which have been exhibiting similar problems over the same recent period, will similarly resume normal operation.

  4. It’s interesting that Bruce Gray chose to highlight the Friday after Thanksgiving since that’s around the time OBA went down.

    I understand that bugs and glitches happen during development (especially for a small program like OBA) but it’s totally unacceptable that the fix has taken over a month. Sound Transit said there would be “results soon” when I tweeted them 15 days ago, now they are saying “early next year.” When is that? Early January? By the end of January? By the February service change?

    But what really frustrates me here is that Sound Transit has completely dropped the ball when it comes to communicating about this problem. There has been no warning or apology inside the app, no announcement on Sound Transit’s website and the OBA twitter account hasn’t been used since June.
    A more little communication would go a long way here.

    1. I completely agree. Sound Transit could certainly do a lot to improve communication around the transit technology issues and future plans. It seems they have dragged their feet on getting this fixed and implementing other transit technology enhancements especially when compared to other OBA enabled agencies like Atlanta.

      https://github.com/SoundTransit/soundtransit-rds/issues/14 has more details on this times specific data issue.

  5. It hasn’t been reporting the 303 real time recently as well. I’ve also noticed some pretty wild swings in scheduled arrival for the 304.

  6. It has been pretty much useless for the 545 since April. I’d complain about the 8th, but nobody can report on that one accurately.

  7. It would be nice if OneBusAway could even fix some of the core functions that just do not work at all. Goto the map and in the search put an address such as 3rd Avenue & Pike St. Where you should get skads and skads or result the result you get is “no routes found.” The same for just about any other query. Why can’t OBA at least get core things that should work to work?! OneBusAway’s mobile app is broken and it has never been fixed.

    Where OBA should show stops in your area instead it shows you a map of Puget sound. Please fix the app or it isn’t worth the trouble to use it.

    1. OneBusAway is a collection of open source apps that anyone can contribute to. The data is controlled by Sound Transit however the applications are developed and maintained by volunteers. For issues with the mobile applications you can file an issue at https://github.com/OneBusAway/onebusaway-iphone or https://github.com/OneBusAway/onebusaway-android. To submit or vote on feature requests see http://onebusaway.ideascale.com/a/ideas/top/campaign-filter/byids/campaigns/46166/id/8715.

    2. Don’t apps like Transit app or CityMapper use the same data? I don’t understand why anyone would use OBA when better alternatives work just as well (or, just as poorly in many cases due to using the same bad data).

  8. In the last update they did fix the thing where if you are too far outside the service area it only gives an error message. It’s nice to be able to save bookmarks now from home.

    I like the fact it starts with a map. PDXBus starts with an enter the stop number screen or let’s you browse by route number, which seems like it would be hostile for those who don’t know the area already.

    However, some features of PDXBus would be nice in OBA. For example, the arrival and proximity alarms that will go off when the bus is a certain number of minutes away, or if you get close to a stop will alert you that the next stop is the one you want.

    It would be nice if the two developers would get together and exchange some ideas.

    1. OneBusAway is a collection of open source apps that anyone can contribute to. The data is controlled by Sound Transit however the applications are developed and maintained by volunteers. For issues with the mobile applications you can file an issue at https://github.com/OneBusAway/onebusaway-iphone or https://github.com/OneBusAway/onebusaway-android. To submit or vote on feature requests see http://onebusaway.ideascale.com/a/ideas/top/campaign-filter/byids/campaigns/46166/id/8715.

  9. How much did you pay for one bus away? Zero? Please expect the same level of customer service. It’s a great FREE app.

    Complaining without contribution is like comparing the quality of your free cheese in the food line. Of course…some millenials might not know what a food line is nor what free cheese might be.

    1. If you want the service/application to be worthwhile and valuable those who work with and work on the service need to know when things don’t work as they are supposed to. If people go to use the service either through the web portal or through an application if it won’t work they will not use it. I am well aware of how much it costs but I am also aware that those who are in back of the service want people to use it. If it’s defective people will not use it.

      What are people supposed to do when the service does not work just give up? I’m sorry you perceive it as a whine when things don’t work right.

  10. Corrections!
    > “To fund the new service…” is incorrect. It is correct that it will help, but it’s primarily a sustained uptick in sales tax revenues that is allowing this partial service restoration to happen.
    > “driven by Community Transit/First Transit drivers…” is also incorrect. First Transit drivers, that organization fulfilling a contract with Community Transit (acting as a middleman), drive Sound Transit buses, which is far less expensive than if union-represented Community Transit drivers did so.
    > “Eleanore” is an incorrect spelling; it’s “Eleanor.”

    @Joe “AvgeekJoe” Konzlar Too bad, their board had the opportunity to truncate most of their costliest routes (Stanwood/downtown Seattle) during the Great Recession, but instead folded under pressure, where the preference was fewer one-seat rides vs. many more two-seat rides, which resulted in there being more cuts elsewhere. As @Glenn in Portland noted, 54 miles, Amtrak price = $12 for “Saver” fare (bus fare presently $5.25).
    @ asdf2 makes a great point, as they at least usually does. The 201/2 was another area where cost savings could have been had (by avoiding duplicating Sound Transit), with those service hours re-directed elsewhere. Also, re: a connection to the 512, imagine if the millions of dollars sunk into Sounder North were reallocated to installing a direct access ramp at 128th as well as putting in the north ramp from 164th/Ash Way? The transfer you note would then be possible if not probable. Further, many buses wouldn’t have to clog up that segment between 4th (west of I-5) and I-5 to get on/off the freeway to go to/from the Park & Ride. Last, buses wouldn’t have to take the one-lane-in-each-direction road between 128th and Ash Way to go between those Park & Rides (which they do to avoid the traffic messes going to and from I-5)/ This is a road that’s unlikely to ever be expanded and is destined to be even more bloated with traffic due to a stunning plethora of multi-story dwellings that have been permitted to crop up recently. Installing the direct access ramps would save time and traffic for both buses and other vehicles in these areas.

    Hopefully, Swift II will be extended to UW Bothell, where connections to/from a few Metro routes exist. Doing so would add connections to/from Woodinville, downtown Kirkland, downtown Bothell, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, the UW, and downtown Seattle. At Canyon Park, the only Metro route is the one/day that goes to/from Boeing-Everett.

  11. I’m tired of trying to look up information for my bus to Queen Anne and having it read “4 Downtown Seattle East Jefferson” while I’m waiting northbound at 5th Ave N/Republican St. I’ve attempted to bring this to their attention and haven’t received a response. It seems to be an issue with routes continuing through downtown to another terminal (like the 2, 3, 4).

Comments are closed.