Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Real-Time Transit Info Coming to Metro Vancouver

Twenty years ago I road the buses and MRT lines (now SMRT) in the Republic of Singapore on a regular basis. Singapore runs like a Swiss watch and it was my oasis and getaway from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, Thailand, where I lived for over 10 years. Everything I needed to get to was on an MRT line, or a short bus transfer. The system has grown tremendously since my exploration days. As a side note, check out some of these SMRT wait times by clicking the timelines here. Read them and weep!

Singapore had GPS-driven signage at most bus stops some 15 years ago. I recall moving to Vancouver in early 2001 and bringing my GSM World Phone from Bangkok to a local phone shop here. I asked the shopkeeper if I could buy a local SIM card for my World Phone. He looked at me like I had three heads. He told me that this new technology was promised in Canada and that perhaps we will see it in 3-5 years. I think it was at least 3 years before I could buy that local SIM card.

TransLink has announced that thanks to a $700K+ investment in the system, real-time data on our buses will become available this month for your iPhone and home computers. Support apps for Android or Blackberry are promised. I'll certainly download this tool and use it when I can. If all works well, this new tool in the arsenal of Metro commuters will be exceptional. I long for the day that our rapid transit system rivals the Singapore utopia I've come to love and appreciate. Until then, I can see how long that bus will take to get me on 200th Street. Frequency has definitely increased over the years!

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