Riding transit just got way, way, easier. A new website called SpotBus is wildly better than existing online trip planners. For one thing, you can enter destinations like a normal person—“Ballard” or “Ikea” or “ferry” or whatever—not some arcane intersection. It’s so much faster and more intuitive that it feels like giving up your old gimcrack five-disc CD changer for an iPod.
It only works in the Puget Sound area, but there’s no reason something similar couldn’t be devised for other regions.
UPDATE 8/8/07: Two things:
1. Some negative reception at Gristmill and Slog, where this post reappeared, makes me wonder if I didn’t oversell SpotBus a bit. For one thing, SpotBus is inherently limited by the data embedded in Metro’s Trip Planner. Still, SpotBus seems to me superior to Metro’s version.
2. I should have pointed out another—and in some ways better—trip planning service, Bus Monster, which Leigh blogged about here a couple of years ago. (Oddly, Bus Monster doesn’t seem to be working right this second.)
Thanks, Eric and Leigh, for calling attention to these useful Bus Service links. As an off-and-on Seattle tourist, I immediately tried SpotBus yesterday out of curiosity after reading this post, and had great success with it. Today I tried Bus Monster, but, alas, it’s still not working at this time, either. Which just goes to show you that it’s good to have both SpotBus and Bus Monster to use, since, when one link is down you can still try the other. (Ah, capitalistic competition!)I’ll try-out Bus Monster another time.Cheers,Michelle
The guy (Chris S) who wrote Bus Monster moved to California over a year ago, and the site hasn’t worked for several months. I imagine that the google maps API has changed and that’s what broke the site. Chris wasn’t seeing any flow from BusMonster, and since he doesn’t live here anymore and is busy with his own startups, I doubt it’ll be fixed anytime soon.Anyhow, Google Transit is better than both these things. http://www.google.com/transit
Again, that link: http://www.google.com/transit
Yep, BusMonster is broken because it uses the old Google Maps API. Too bad—I miss the old monster.
Tried http://www.google.com/transit. Those google maps are awesome! Now, if SpotBus could combine its intuitive smarts with those maps, we’d be spot on the music! … Who’d need iPods?