Find transit stops near you, complete with up-to-the-moment schedules. Transit App is the best Android tool for quickly knowing when and where you can catch a lift (so long as your city is supported – ).
Android isn’t entirely without out-of-the-box ways of getting transit directions: you could use Google Maps’ transit feature, and Google Now shows bus times if you happen to be near a station. But if you want a program that immediately shows you which buses you can catch nearby without the fuss of clicking a station on a map, or hoping Google Now will in its wisdom decide to actually show you what you want, Transit App is perfect.
Using Transit App
Open this program and it will immediately detect your current location (you can optionally set a custom location, if you prefer). Then you’ll see which buses you can catch where:
(Yes, Boulder buses have awesome names like “Hop”, “Skip” and “Jump”. No, your city isn’t allowed to copy that idea.)
The name and location of buses are clearly visible, as is a countdown to the next departure. Tap any of these and you’ll see a few more options:
The arrows show times for the reverse direction. The map button next to this does just what you’d expect, showing you a Google map of the station and route:
You can alternately see a schedule:
The start button allows you to add any stop to your favorites, meaning it will come up higher when you open the app. Useful if you prefer one station to another for whatever reason.
If all you want to do is know when and where you can catch which buses, this is perfect. But you can do more than that.
If you want to know how to get somewhere specific, there’s a way to do that too. Searching for directions is simple:
Your location is used as a starting point, allowing you to define where you want to go. Then you’ll see a map and a selection of choices:
Pick your route and you can see an overview of the steps required:
It’s basically using Google Maps, but without the annoying tendency to assume you’re going to be driving.
You’re going to need to let the program know which transit system you’re using before it can work. 43 cities are supported as of this writing, mostly in the USA and Canada. You can explore the complete list in the settings, if you want:
Only two cities outside the US and Canada are supported: Paris and Mexico City. Sorry, vast majority of planet earth.
Google Now Can Sometimes Suck
Google: this app was almost unnecessary for me. Google Now used to be an easy way to see when the next bus to pass my house would come, which I loved. That all changed when I informed Google Maps where my home is: suddenly the transit directions stopped coming, as though I’d never have need to catch a bus when I’m at home.
It’s a moronic assumption, but try as I may I cannot find a way to make Now think otherwise. It’s part of the frustration of apps that try to predict what you want: it’s hard to tell them what you want. I’m not the only one having this problem, and it sucks because I want to believe Now could be cool.
Oh well: now I’ve got Transit App. I’m perfectly happy with it and its beautiful interface, so everything worked out for the best. But I want to know what you think: is Transit App working out for you? Let’s talk alternatives in the comments below.
Oh, and if you’re an iOS user there’s also an iOS version of the Transit app. Just so you know.