You’re in for a treat this morning. New South Wales’ ridiculously handsome Transport Minister, Andrew Constance, just announced that Australian cities have gained access to Transit App. That’s right: residents of every single city in New South Wales — from Wagga Wagga to Dubbo — can now commute like kings and queens. Of course, it wouldn’t have been possible without months of tireless research on Australia’s transport system.
We know what you’re thinking: “Who are these punks?” We’re Transit App, the ridiculously handsome app for urban transport that makes getting around your city ridiculously simple. We think too many navigation apps are cluttered with gratuitous buttons, settings, and choices, so we’ve designed and refined our app around the single most essential piece of information for the daily commute: your next departure. Right on launch, we present nearby transport options and departure times in big text and bright colours — no taps required.
Oh what? That’s not enough? Well, let’s look under the hood. We’re not shy.
Transit App offers the whole shebang — including a-to-b journey planning, an industry-leading Uber integration, and timely delivery of service disruptions — but its heart and soul is the commuter-focused design.
It’s for this reason that we are the most popular public transport app in North America, and why fancy people like the Wall Street Journal highlighted us a ‘killer app’, Apple featured us in their Design Guidelines, and Toronto’s transit riders voted us the city’s best transport app.
While we’re already live in over 100 cities both big and small, we’re particularly excited to take our talents to the Land Down Under in partnership with Transport for NSW (TfNSW).
This past fall, TfNSW assembled an industry reference group of transport developers to help them create a new Open Data Hub. The goal was to get detailed feedback before real-time transport data was released to the public. According to Transport Minister Constance, the system was designed for internal operations only and not capable of supporting the external demand; until today, the data could only be shared with six local app developers.
Having spent the past few months working with the data, we now understand the magnitude of this release: TfNSW data feeds are among the biggest we’ve ever processed.
The data includes real-time arrival predictions, vehicle locations and service alerts for over a dozen transport providers in Sydney and Newcastle. It also contains route itineraries, stop locations, and timetables for: 10 different ferry companies, Sydney’s light rail, commuter trains, every single intercity train that runs across the state, and over 100 bus operators (ranging from tiny companies like Ryan’s Bus Service in Coffs Harbour to State Transit — full list here).
With so much data available, we spent a lot of time thinking about how to best organize the experience. For example, to spare users the agony of determining which bus operators serve their communities, or forcing them to wade through countless transport options, we grouped bus operators by type and region. Simply uncheck to remove:
Of course, the app also includes all of our other favourites features. We’ll let you discover Transit App on your own, but here are a few (or 6) of our more unique offerings:
- Offline Mode: We compress transport data into miniscule files so that important information can be stored directly on your device. You can view timetables, planned service changes, route maps, and stop locations all without a data connection. Side-benefit: our compression technology makes the app blazingly fast.
- Direction Save: The app remembers which way you travel from a given location so that we show you the right direction on launch. In other words, if you travel east to work on Pitt Street in the morning and head back west to Annandale in the evening, we’ll automatically show you eastbound departures when you leave home and westbound departures when leaving the office. So you can open the app mid-sprint, instantly see when your bus is coming, and close it without tapping a thing.
- Uber Integration: Next bus not arriving for 25 minutes? Quickly see the ETA for the closest Uber, check if it’s surging, and request a ride with two taps. You can also compare A-to-B journey times for public transport vs. Uber.
- Stop Announcements: Select your destination and we’ll alert you before your stop arrives, which is great if you’re unfamiliar with the route or want to take a power nap.
- Alarms: Set alarms to get reminded before your bus or train arrives, and we’ll send you a notification as your ride approaches your stop. What’s more, you can choose to have the alarms re-occur, which is perfect if you’re enjoying a coffee with a friend and want the flexibility to pop out and grab one of several upcoming buses.
- Bike Share Payment & Unlocking: Only teasing — Melbourne and Brisbane somehow got their bike share schemes first. Although rumor has it that Sydney is getting its own system soon enough! To give you a preview: in other markets, we show all nearby docks and available bikes on the map, and in a few cities, users can even pay for a pass and unlock a bike with their phone.
This is just the first phase of our Australian expansion, so we’ll be working hard to continuously improve the app and add more cities. So check us out. You’re gonna have a bloody fun time.