TransitApp’s update lets STM riders see buses in real time

A new update by Montreal startup TransitApp will allow STM riders to see the location of buses in real time.

According to La Presse’s Jean-François Codère, TransitApp couldn’t get ahold of the STM’s real-time data, which the organization entrusted to a German firm called iBus four years ago.

So TransitApp is actually focusing on its own users to gather this information.

real time

Led by CEO Sam Vermette, TransitApp is available on iOS and Android. It allows users to plan journeys on public transport. It calls itself “the most important application dedicated to public transport in the United States,” and is functional in more than 125 regions.

Earlier in the year, while celebrating its rebranding and a $2.4 million fundraising round, TransitApp called itself the “the king of real-time transit data,” and wrote it had “re-invented what public transportation should feel like.”

Before that it posted a Medium piece trolling Apple Maps and Google Maps, as it added a new feature to 55 cities.

Montrealers are a bit late in terms of the ability to see buses in real time. TransitApp has already done this for Saskatoon and other cities. Oakville also claims to have allow its passengers to see buses in real time. In fact, La Presse wrote that about 85 per cent of TransitApp’s transportation companies display real-time data on the position of their equipment.

To gather the real time data, TransitApp is relying on users to use its “Go” function, which it calls its friendly travel companion. When it’s activated it follows the position of the user at all times. By using Go, users grant the application the right to access their GPS coordinates. The real time service also launched in Victoria, British Columbia today as well.

Vermette told La Presse that at least one user in 5 per cent to 20 per cent of all bus routes in Montreal is using Go. The new update introduced new features to convince more users to activate Go and thus make the position of their bus accessible in real time.

“When you go to activate Go, we’ll tell you how many people you help,” Vermette told La Presse. “Same thing when your journey is finished. You will be able to know how many people you helped to have access the coordinates in real time. It adds an altruistic effect and, hopefully, a ripple effect.”

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