OneBusAway, one of the essential transit rider tools available to us, has unveiled its updated Android app with a major redesign to its interface. The app now adheres to Google’s “Material Design” guidelines, emphasizing the use of “cards” and responsive animation, bringing a modern look that is a far cry from the bland look of yesteryear.

In addition to the redesign, the app now features live trip status and displays real-time positions of buses on a given route. The live tracking also features fleet numbers, allowing transit nerds to select their bus type of choice and ensure that they never trip over the stairs of a high-floor bus ever again.

The app still displays real-time arrival information for participating systems (as of this writing, King County Metro, Pierce Transit, Intercity Transit, and Washington State Ferries) and scheduled arrivals for other agencies (including Community Transit, Everett Transit, Sound Transit’s Sounder commuter rail and Link light rail, the King County Water Taxi, and Seattle Streetcar). The app also has an online client, an iOS app on the App Store, and Windows Store app (for mobile and desktop).

50 Replies to “OneBusAway Unveils Redesigned Android App”

  1. What do the various colors mean?

    PDXbus is programmed to show the number in gray if the bus can’t be found and it is showing scheduled time instead, blue for normal arrival time, and red if the arrival time is 5 minutes or less.

      1. I didn’t get that the first time I ran it, I don’t think, but the first time I ran the app it became quite pissed off about not being able to find any nearby participating transit agencies.

        I was preparing for a trip to Seattle the following week. I eventually got it settled down and was able to get the most important bus stops entered, but it certainly didn’t like the way Portland GPS coordinates tasted at first.

    1. Transit doesn’t handle through-routing well. If a 124 is coming north, the app doesn’t list it as a 24 until the bus enters downtown and the sign changes. Before that point, the 24 listing is the scheduled time, not the live position of the bus.

    2. Transit is good for if I want to know what’s around me, like if I am standing at an unfamiliar corner, or for transit-centric directions. (I also like that it integrates car2Go finding, which keeps with its mission.) But if I want to know what buses are going to be at exactly what stop, Transit isn’t so good. I can’t say “tell me the next 5 arriving buses at 23rd and Cherry southbound” like I can with OneBusAway.

      They each have their strengths but, because I usually know where I am, where I intend to be, and how I plan to get there, I use OneBusAway a lot more.

      1. Also, if a stop has a huge number of buses that stop there, I’d like to be able to see that at the top of the screen. They don’t all fit now.

      2. Obviously, my thoughts are going to be based on limited use due to my location, but….

        I’ve heard that the Android version has an arrival alarm and approaching stop alarm like PDXBus has? I’ve not found that on the iOS version.

        I like the way PDXbus starts at the list of bookmarked stops, and for me it would be nice to have that option so that I didn’t have to go the map interface. That would let me get the stop at Jackson loaded when I am still half an hour or so away on Amtrak.

        I like the fact that I can set up PDXBus do that stop displays auto-load. For example, I have mine set up so that every time I start it on weekday mornings, it automatically displays arrivals for the stop I need to get to work.

        You may already have all this, but I didn’t find it yet.

    3. What do those of us who do not use a so called smartphone supposed to use?

      1. So, if you have the iOS version you have to backup the phone to iTunes and re-synch?

    1. Sorry about that! We’re aware of a bug that messed with some home screen shortcuts, and are working on a fix now.

  2. I’ve been using the Alpha for a while now. The tutorials popping up all the time were annoying as hell. Seems these subsided as the alphas went on, however I’m not sure if that’s just because I had already dismissed them. It was so annoying that if this app didn’t have a monopoly on stop-based arrivals in Puget Sound I would have uninstalled it.

    Is the release version still incredibly naggy?

    1. I definitely did not have that problem, but as noted above it got pissed off at me for being so far from the nearest supported bus stop so it might have done something different for me.

    2. Sorry about that – we got a little overly excited with the tutorials in early versions, and users definitely communicated that to us :). We dialed them way back for the final public v2 release. We also now ask the user if they want to see the tutorial before jumping straight into it, and include a setting to turn it on or off.

    1. Sure, we’ll get there. Bigger fish to fry, first: improve bookmarks, get a today screen widget working, and build an Apple Watch app. Our users are *very* attached to the current interface, and even minor UI tweaks to the OBA iOS app have resulted in huge responses. So I want to make sure that we get it right on the first try, and that’ll take some time.

      1. Cool, thanks! The iOS version is so drab compared to the Android. And it’s be wonderful to have live tracking.

      2. PDXBus supports the watch too. Might want to check his code and see what he did. He says he’s left everything he wrote as open source.

  3. “The live tracking also features fleet numbers, allowing transit nerds to select their bus type of choice and ensure that they never trip over the stairs of a high-floor bus ever again.”

    Is there a table somewhere that indicates which type of bus maps to each fleet number. It would nice to be able to look up if an upcoming bus is a trolley or diesel? 40-footer or 60-footer?

  4. A hige pat on the back to the dev team! Great work! I really like the new interface. The coach number information and real time tracking feature make the app way more useful.

  5. What’s it going to take to get those scheduled times for other agencies turned into real time arrivals? With the way traffic is around here, scheduled time is completely worthless… especially streetcar and Sound Transit buses.

    1. Sound Transit routes operated by King County Metro and Pierce Transit have real-time data in OneBusAway because those agencies transmit it to OBA. ST routes contracted to Community Transit (routes 510 through 535 except 522) lack real-time data for that reason.

      Why CommTrans is so resistent–or slow–to integrate with OBA is beyond me. They launched arrival data on their own web site over a year ago but have apparently ran out of all IT resources to contribute data to the pool run by the regional provider. I’ve considered trying to whack together a screen-scraping-and-OBA-API-proxy-layer thing to allow the OneBusAway apps to have some form of data from CT…but every time I think about it, my head starts to pound.

      My conclusion is either that they simply don’t care* or they believe that they derive more benefit from getting the public to visit their website directly than they would having data in OBA.

      (* “Don’t care” may be overly harsh; maybe it’s not a big thing to CT but they’re a transit agency fersakes. Having information available to the riding public as widely as possible is a good thing and ought to be a priority, not an afterthought.)

      1. That’s very clever of you, Atomic Taco… I completely skipped over “read the page’s Javascript.” Maybe I’ll reignite my side idea after all.

        All the same, the API doesn’t seem to be documented and CT makes no reference to it on their site, so it doesn’t really count in my ledger…especially since the data still isn’t in production OBA.

      2. It just kills me that we can spend $$$ on transit infrastructure (and may it continue), but this data gap, that a smart high-school kid could code up in a weekend, persists for months and years on end without any apparent hand-wringing or sense of urgency from the responsible agency. Don’t they realize that not having this data in the major transit planning apps is like a tax, that diminishes the value of every other dollar they put into the bus network?

        And every time I’ve written to their published email contact address to ask about the possibility of a public API, they’ve simply ignored my question.

        It’s shenanigans like this that make people stop believing in government and vote for the demolitionists instead. So frustrating, and makes it hard to explain my support of transit spending to friends and family :(

  6. In the old version how were starred stops ordered?

    I know in the new version I can sort by name or most frequently used, but neither of those show what I was used to.

    1. Previous default starred stop ordering in v1.x was by “Most frequently used” – this option in v2 should give you the exact same ordering.

  7. A little too cartoony and colorful, but real time positioning makes it worthwhile.

  8. I like it a lot! The interface works well for me and it also seems a lot faster than the old version.

    One minor nit: the Starred Stops list does not indicate the direction of the stop (“Northbound” for example), as the old version did. The starred stop still has a direction but you can’t see it on the list.

    Hmm is this possibly because of stops like that at 10th and Yesler where the bus is eastbound but the FHSC is westbound?

    1. Not showing direction in starred stops list is a bug on our end on devices with larger system fonts. This should be fixed in v2.0.14 rolling out now! :)

  9. The “trip status” is a very welcome addition, but you still have to dig a little deep to get to it. I hope in future versions to see an option to shoe this as one extra line on the stop info. (E.g., “@Mercer and Broadway, updated 11:43am”).

    Thanks for all the good work!

    1. I rewrote it… but it fizzled. It works a little bit different. If you’re interested and don’t mind paying $1/month plus $0.0075/minute it could be resurrected.

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