Saturday, October 26, 2013

MBTA BusTracker

As this is my first experience with any MBTA bus app, all I can say is...wow. I've never tried one of these for myself, so I was blown away with how easy it was to use; I had figured out what to do in about 30 seconds. Upon getting onto the website (it's all online, which is nice since I don't own a smartphone and could try it on a computer), there is a simple search bar asking you to type in a stop name. When you type in a street name (for example, Massachusetts Avenue), you get a long list of stop names back. You can either scroll through them all or just narrow it down by writing more of the stop name. If there are multiple routes at a stop, you can select the ones you want to appear on the map. You also have the option to save stops or specific routes at stops for quick reference (a fantastic feature).

There is also a button called "Find Stops Near Me." This feature figures out your location and shows you all the closest bus stops. You can then click on individual stops to see when the next bus goes to them. There's also a button at the top that says "Click Here City Center," which takes you to Downtown Boston (although there aren't too many buses going there).

I like all these features, but there are also unfortunately some bad things about the app. First and foremost, if you try to search for a train station (Harvard, for example) with or without bus connections, it says "There is no bus stop with that number." I mean, if you type in "Harvard," "Harvard Square Station" is the first thing on the list, yet it doesn't lead to anything! There is no way to find out when buses get to stations like Harvard, so you have to use stops that are close to the hubs. A smaller annoyance is the fact how when you type in a station name, it sometimes deletes a few letters for no reason and you have to start over. Overall, though, it's quite a useful app that I would recommend (as long as you're not getting any buses from train stations)

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