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Petition ACTION and the ACT Government for a Mobile Application!

By shneyney123 - 13 January 2011 18

Hey all,

We are a group of ANU university students, and as a born and bred Canberran, I’ve always had trouble with the Action Bus system. I have a hard time finding out where the stops are, the bus website is really hard to use on the go, and judging from the posts already made regarding this, I decided to go ahead and implement a mobile application for Action.

Our ideas so far involve a live-bus positioning so that you know where the bus is along its route, telling you the closest bus stop along with the times, scheduling a trip, alarms and anything people can suggest.

We developed a prototype with dummy data, and met up with Action today to show them our work so far, and to try and get the data needed to get it working perfectly and accurately.

We were unfortunately told that while Action already has all the compiled Google Transit Feed data, they cannot provide us with anything because of political reasons.

We want to develop our application for Android, Iphone, and even Blackberries, but I cant until we get the data and Action’s help.

If you think this application is worth it, please petition Action or the ACT government. Without your help, we cannot help you.

We placed our prototype on the market so people can see what we envision it to be, check it out on your Android mobile by entering this into your web-browser: market://search?q=pname:com.action or search for “My Bus 2.0 Schedule Canberra” in the market and feel free to give us feedback or comments!

We need and appreciate your help. Thanks,

-The Imagine Team

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18 Responses to
Petition ACTION and the ACT Government for a Mobile Application!
beejay76 11:45 am 14 Jan 11

olfella said :

If it is political, why can’t you lobby the pollies instead of those at ACTION.

+1

Ian 11:44 am 14 Jan 11

Lots of public servants commenting obviously, with all the “why do we need this?” type comments.

My take is this. ACTION has the data. Someone wants to take some initiative and make it available to ACTION’s customers in a way that at least some would find useful – hell, making buses easier to use might even make more people inclined to use it (although information availability is way down my list of factors compared to things like frequency and travel time). It costs ACTION nothing or next to nothing to co-operate. ACTION customers benefit. Strikes me as win all round. Get on with it, ACTION and co-operate with these guys (and any others like them) to get apps out there.

shneyney123 11:18 am 14 Jan 11

To those of you who agree with our plight, thank you. To those who seem to understand that this about having my phone around me 24/7 or that I cannot catch the bus without a phone, I am afraid you do not quite understand my post. I do not, under any circumstance, say that I need a mobile phone to catch buses, and like the majority of people who use the Action services, use the website on a regular basis to plan trips. However, under the same ideal that some of you mentioned, why have the website at all? Why not just use the fliers that Action provides? Or just walk to the bus stop and see the times there? Having a mobile application, as several cities around Australia have already, is another form of providing information to the public. Internet usage of phones by 2020 will exceed casual internet usage on the traditional computer. Furthermore, Action already has the data! So please, understand that our plight is not about me, it is about the vision that we had for Action.

gospeedygo 5:46 am 14 Jan 11

Wouldn’t it be better to plan your trip if you’re unsure beforehand? The timetable/map PDF’s on the website do the job marvelously and yes they actually do tell you where the stops are. A lot of the stops I’ve seen (it may not be all of them) have timetables too. Would your head explode if you were to lose your phone?

deye 3:08 am 14 Jan 11
Holditz 11:37 pm 13 Jan 11

This problem has occured in other cities, where people have developed public transport apps, only to have the authority crack down on them and refuse to cooperate with. It’s really annoying, because it just deters people.

As for political reasons, I figure the union just doesn’t want to share the information on how on time bus services are. 🙁

shneyney123 11:36 pm 13 Jan 11

Please sign the petition at:
http://www.gopetition.com/petition/42009.html
Your help is much appreciated

Grail 10:18 pm 13 Jan 11

WTF is wrong with bloody ACTION? They have been working on that stupid Google Transit data for TWO YEARS. There has to be someone in the system being obstructionist.

Who did you talk to at ACTION who claimed the Google Transit project was stalled for political reasons? Were those reasons ACTION internal, external or unspecified?

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, to coin a phrase.

wildturkeycanoe 10:01 pm 13 Jan 11

Good luck trying to get the government to track movements of their buses in “real time”. When we complained to ACTION after my family almost got wiped out by a bus that didn’t give way, it took a denial, a dodge the question and then finally after two weeks an explanation that the driver had “recently left the company” to get our answer.
As for the “App”, if you’ve got internet service, just look up the website like the rest of the community and write down the times and bus numbers on the back of your hand. It’s not rocket science. If you depend on your phone to catch a bus, maybe you shouldn’t be wandering outside on your own.

ducky12221 9:10 pm 13 Jan 11

Agreed with Shneyney123.
Having a mobile application would make it a lot easier on all of us to find the next bus at the nearest location. and I doubt it would be that expensive for action to simply give a list of all their locations (seeing as all the new buses do it anyway as they’re GPS enabled from what a nice bus driver told me).

Let’s look at the alternative: downloading an entire timetable which you must manually scroll and guess if a bus is late or non existent. If there’s no cost to action, heck, if there’s a small cost, as a taxpayer, I’d be willing to pay it!

And please could you make it free with ads? I’m a poor ANU student too!

clp 9:06 pm 13 Jan 11

well done you – I’ve installed it but don’t catch buses often

olfella 8:38 pm 13 Jan 11

If it is political, why can’t you lobby the pollies instead of those at ACTION. Anything to give that sort of information would have to be a plus so I fail to see their reasons not to make it available. But then again, I am just an average joblo..

shneyney123 8:06 pm 13 Jan 11

No bus system is perfect, and as far as bus systems go, there are alot worse than Action. Buses can be late for a number of reasons outside the control of Action, such as more people getting on, more people paying by cash as opposed to tickets, bus break downs, etc. In other words, tossing more money at making the system better, while necessary, will not wipe out late/non existent buses. To help mitigate this, a system such as ours telling people which buses are late would increase their faith in Action, and in my opinion would well warrant a relatively small budget expenditure. Furthermore, having buses that run on time without telling people EFFICIENTLY what those times are is much like telling people what movies are on at a cinema without telling them when they are playing.

arescarti42 7:43 pm 13 Jan 11

Brilliant project, and kudos for actually taking the effort to develop the software.

ACTION really need to have a look at what Melbourne is doing with the Metlink website. Information is easy to access and there are mobile applications available.

That ACTION actually has the data available but wont give it to you due to “political reasons” seems completely retarded to me. Giving people easy access to route and timetabling information is fundamental to running an effective public transport system.

I’ll point out that people who wish to direct feedback at ACTION can make use of the feedback form at the canberra connect website here.

tortfeaser 6:08 pm 13 Jan 11

Bah. I’d be happy to have the Google Transit stuff working. But I can’t understand why they can’t provide you with that data, there wouldn’t appear to be an additional cost to them for that.

If there’s an additional cost to govt to provide you with the data, why shouldn’t Action make a budget decision to prioritise their spending? Sounds like trying to have government subsidise your vanity project.

Really, why should government fund anything more than what’s required to get on the right bus at the right time (ie timetable data)? I’d prefer they spent funds on getting the buses to run on time, rather than on telling us which bus is running late.

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