I have released a new version of the Montclair software, 1.6.0, that includes some major improvements to seeing estimated arrivals of buses at stops.
When selecting a stop, the app now goes into a full screen split mode with the estimated arrivals and the map. Clicking on one of the estimated arrivals will show you where that specific bus relative to your stop and will track the bus until it arrives. This makes seeing your next bus super simple!
This version will automatically roll out to your favorite “Go Transit” city app!
During a recent visit to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, I quickly became frustrated with the app for the free bus system. I thought to myself that it would be really nice to have my Montclair app available for other cities. With that, the Go Transit series of apps were born.
The next step was to build a transmogrifier. The transmogrifier takes a configuration, then pulls down a specific version of montclair, montclair-pwa-android, and montclair-pwa-ios, and replaces all the necessary names, strings, icons, and other information. The new versions are then pushed to their own repositories and tagged, which automatically kicks off the white labeled builds.
All that is left it to create a custom configuration (see Steamboat for an example). The assets projects all have github actions too, and each time a commit is pushed, it will then run the transmogrifier.
When all the builds are done, they can be uploaded to my website hosting provider, the Google Play Store, and the Apple App Store.
Each “block” is a bus trip throughout the day. The dark black line represents the actual time the bus arrived at this stop. The dark blue line shows when Availtec estimated the bus would arrive at that specific time.
Ideally, the dark blue line would be as close as possible to the dark black line.
From the image above, we can see that the 4th trip, from 10:44:17 to 10:46:17 had the best estimate. From 10:00am to 10:50am, Availtec estimated the bus would arrive ±30 seconds from when it actually did.
We can also see that the trip after it, had the worst estimate. From the time the trip started, just before 10:50, until around 11:20, Availtec was estimating the bus would arrive at 11:32, when it actually came at 11:38. It wasn’t until about 11:25, that the system suddenly corrected and started estimating a more realistic time.
This project works with any bus system that utilizes Availtec for real time tracking. You can leave the capturer program running in the background for days, then generate graphs based on that historical data. The graphing script allows you to specify which stops, routes, and days to plot.
This came about because I have been unhappy about how iOS handles progressive web apps. Every time the app is brought to the foreground, iOS does a full reload, which can be slow and annoying. The native app handles this much nicer, and doesn’t ever have to reload the state.
To build the native apps, I used this handy tool: Progress Web App Builder. It takes your website, wraps it using Cordova, and generates both an iOS and an Android project. With only a few tweaks, I was able to get them submitted to the app store.
Birmingham, Alabama’s transit agency, the BJCTA (Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority) has a website for tracking the buses in real time. This website along with their mobile app are ok, but have some things that constantly annoy me. My biggest annoyance is that every time the App is brought to the foreground, it refreshes and resets you back to the main page, losing the bus you were trying to track. The other problem is that you can only view one route at a time (at least on the mobile app). I have 3 routes that I can choose between every day. When I open the app, I want those three routes selected by default so I can quickly see which route to pick.