There are hundreds of thousands of apps on the Apply iTunes store but how many do you need? Well, in case of the urban transit service of the city of Ottawa, the riders are left with a choice of just two mobile applications. Before discussing the app story, it is time to give a statistical review of the transit system in Ottawa.
OC Transpo is a big business with earnings of $318 million serving a population of one million. Its fleet of 1,020 buses and three trains are running on 248 routes with a daily ridership of 370,000. The website of OC Transpo is quite popular as it saw a traffic of nearly 6.1 million visitors for the year 2008 along with 12.5 million calls for automated bus schedules.
Iphone apps are entering every sphere of our lives; take for instance the OC Transpo app. Although there were attempts to promote OC Transpo buses schedules and services on mobile devices by introducing mobile tool available at octranspo.mobi, however, it fails to grasp the full potential of new technology.
The apps market for OC Transpo is not that saturated as said before, there are only two main candidates at Apple iTunes store: TransitWay and Next Bus. TransitWay with a tag price of $0.99 claims to, “provides accessible, up-to-date schedule information for transit stops and stations in the city of Ottawa,” as stated on iTunes store. This mobile application is simple, well layout and includes a comprehensive list of all the bus routes in Ottawa. However, it still has certain limitations and needs serious refinements.
Next Bus is the most popular OC Transpo scheduling application for iPhone/iPod. The price is $2.99 that equals almost a regular fare for an adult on most OC Transpo buses. Compared with TransitWay the app has a much sleeker design with big fonts and colors but there are some serious issues of time consistency in this app. Some of the reviews are harsh on the iTunes store about this app mentioning its conflicts with the updated OC Transpo schedule information. There are also some customer service issues raised on the site.
After a close look at the app, one can see some missing Bus routes like route number 9 and a few more. It is time OC Transpo should realize the new media and come up with a reliable app of their own for the iPhone and other mobile devices.
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