NVAS for TTC buses finally to go live on Monday
Lost in all of yesterday's talk of the TTC's new advertising contract and the possibility of station naming rights being sold was the news that GPS-based next vehicle arrival times for TTC buses will be made available starting on Monday. This comes almost two months after a beta version of the feed was inadvertently made available on May 10th, but subsequently taken down for further refinement and testing.
Although not all bus stops will be adorned with stickers notifying customers of the number to text when the data goes live, those looking to use the service immediately can consult a list that will be put up on the TTC website. The information will also be available through the NextBus web and mobile sites, and one suspects that by the end of next week popular apps like Rocket Radar, Pocket Rocket and Next TTC will have pushed through updates that make use of the new open data feed.
For my money, these dedicated apps are the best way to get next vehicle information, but the good news for people who don't carry smartphones is that a staff proposal to charge users who use SMS messaging for this information has been deferred for review until September 22nd. Had it passed, riders would have been allotted two free texts per day, after which point each subsequent message was to cost 15 cents.
This is all quite welcome news for those who rely on buses for their daily commute. Using the fixed schedule (posted at bus stops and online) for surface vehicles was always a great way to add some frustration to one's day, and I can't say I'll miss that.