PDX Bus 6.0’s Commuter Bookmarks

There is a free iPhone app that I use all the time called PDX Bus (iTunes link).  Portland has not only GPS-enabled pub­lic trans­port with extremely accu­rate arrival and depar­ture times, they have opened up the data feeds for any­one who wants to request a free devel­oper ID.  As such, we have plenty of apps and things that pull data from these feeds.  PDX Bus is one of them and, in my opin­ion, the best.  Its app icon has secured a cov­eted posi­tion on the first page of my iPhone.

PDX Bus has all the stan­dard stuff you would expect from such an app: live timeta­bles, maps, route find­ers, trip plan­ners.  It also has some nifty bells and whis­tles such as book­mark­ing fre­quent stops and using your GPS to find what stops are nearby — use­ful if you are in an unknown neigh­bor­hood and/or the stop ID of an unfa­mil­iar has worn off .

The 6.0 release added a new fea­ture that I never would have though of request­ing, but already looks like it will prove incred­i­bly use­ful.  When book­mark­ing a stop, you can now option­ally  give it a time win­dow (such as week­day morn­ings).  When you launch the app dur­ing that win­dow, it will auto­mat­i­cally fetch the live data and go to that stop’s arrival screen.  This saves time and atten­tion (launch app, wait for it to load, find book­mark, touch book­mark, wait for stop data to load vs. launch app, wait for data dur­ing which you can pay atten­tion to some­thing else, look back at screen).  It’s a silly lit­tle thing that doesn’t seem like it would make much dif­fer­ence, and maybe it doesn’t, but it really feels like it does.

It also added a nice “prox­im­ity alarm” — a fea­ture that some friends and I kicked around as being use­ful for unfa­mil­iar routes, but never really thought to sug­gest to any­one.  Basically, if you are on the bus and your stop is com­ing up soon, your phone will beep and vibrate to let you know.  It should reduce the chance of miss­ing your stop.

Overall, I am very impressed with the PDX Bus app and how it has improved over time.

Posted in: iPhone Portland

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Brian Enigma

Brian Enigma is a Portlander, manipulator of atoms & bits, minor-league blogger, and all-around great guy. He typically writes about the interesting “maker” projects he's working on, but sometimes veers off into puzzles, software, games, local news, and current events.

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