Translink Bus Tracker: Real-time transit app helps you find your bus

Let's test Translink Bus Tracker,  a simple and smartphone-friendly transit tool.

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Use station name to track that tram

[Update: This has been fixed. Typing in a street or station name will start giving you results, as per the screenshot below.]

[Those who prefer scrolling down a list to searching on a map might prefer this option.]

Tapping in 5-1-0-3-6 brought up the expected result:

Select your bus.

Mapping

The mapping function was much better. A clean, easy-to-read Google Map appears when selected, overlaid with happy red dots depicting nearby stops. Go ahead, select the stop at which you will soon be standing in the rain...

                                      Your bus, sir/ma'am

Tapping the stop brings up a tooltip; tapping it takes you to the list of buses that will roll up to that stop. Select the one you need, and you'll see when the next few buses are coming.

In terms of showing you when the next bus is coming, I daresay Live Translink does the job better. You only need one tap to see the full list of buses and their expected arrival times for roughly the next hour. Look how simple this is:

Live Translink

The fewer inputs required, the less chance of something going wrong, either site-side or through user error.

However, Translink Bus Tracker does something I wish Live Translink did: it shows you the route of the bus you've selected. If the bus stop you're examining has more than one bus, you can see if the other options will also get you close to where you want to go. You can also manually refresh the map and arrival time info, so you know exactly how much longer you must  avoid making eye contact with the drunk guy standing next you you.

Those little pill-shaped borders around the bus' arrival times look like they should be buttons, but they aren't. Neither are those little blue circles to the far right of each bus result. Also, are those supposed to be little satellites? I think they are.

Is Translink Bus Tracker any good?

Overall, yup. You should give this tool a try.

The pros:

  • Simple website: It's not a smartphone app, so there's need for a separate development effort. Build one site that everyone can use.
  • No need for user credentials, or tacked-on social networking guff.
  • Clean UI, very fast pageloads.
  • Easy-to-read maps.
  • Free (but expect to see ads soon: development ain't cheap)

The cons:

  • Search by station or intersection name doesn't work. Until it does, the map option should be presented first, since it's the most functional. Fixed.
  • Too many steps to reach the result. Especially for route comparison, It's easier to query each bus without leaving the page.
  • The favicon is red. Why isn't it blue, to match the rest of the site's theme? Fixed.
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