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TriMet's App Center is full of free and functional smart phone applications that have recently revolutionized my transit riding experience. If you have a smart phone, you've got to download at least one to try it out.
Here's a little background on my personal transit app revelation: For a semi-professional blogging bureaucrat I'm kind of a techno-phobe (not as bad as my fellow home-phone-only Commuter Central blogger, though!:^). So when I upgraded my cellular walkie talkie for a honest-to-goodness smart phone I was pretty excited about, and scared of, my new toy. But I didn't realize just how much the transit applications would enhance my bus and rail riding experience.
Yesterday, for example, I was stuck in an unfamiliar part of southeast trying to get back home to North Portland. I had gotten a ride with a friend, but I was ready to head home and he wanted to stick around and watch more football. I opened up my PDXBus app and planned my trip home. In no time I was on the #70 toward the Rose Quarter. Did I mention that the app was free?
How is this possible? TriMet makes a ton of its data open to the public, which allows software designers to create these unbelievable transit tools. And let me tell you: you're not just looking at tiny webpages. These apps are beautifully crafted for your 2 inch screen and work seamlessly with the data networks. I know the term "apps" has caught on, but these tools need more descriptive names. They reveal a glimpse of the good things that happen when innovative creators tackle reams and reams of public data.
If you don't have a smart phone or aren't sold on transit apps after my glowing review you can still get up-to-the-second transit information on your phone (cellular or otherwise).
-Text your stop ID to 27299 and get arrival info
-Or use Transit Tracker on-line