Greater Greater Washington

NextBus is live!

Take a look and post your thoughts in the comments. You can get to the real-time map of bus positions by clicking the (somewhat easy to miss) link in the upper right.
David Alpert is the founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle. 

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Does anyone know if there is a way to access wmata nextbus on a web-enabled phone? http://www.nextbus.com/wireless/miniRoute.shtml?a=wmata does not seem to work.

by gadgetsolo on Jun 30, 2009 1:03 pm • linkreport

Set your phone to http://wmata.nextbus.com/ and it'll work fine. That URL can also be used from your computer to get to the standard interface.

by Joey on Jun 30, 2009 1:07 pm • linkreport

Thanks Joey. It works perfectly!

by gadgetsolo on Jun 30, 2009 1:09 pm • linkreport

hmm i'm trying to use it on my blackberry and get an error page after I pick a route! this happening to anyone else?

by sarahlucy on Jun 30, 2009 1:28 pm • linkreport

Why don't they have the SMS system working? The voice-activated system on the signs at the bus stops are useless on a loud, busy street.

by chris on Jun 30, 2009 1:36 pm • linkreport

SHHHHH!!!! They may shut it down again! They did say July first after all, not June 30th. This could blow the whole deal!

by Reid on Jun 30, 2009 2:06 pm • linkreport

I wonder how buses that are bunched will be indicated on this thing? (or if...)

by Jazzy on Jun 30, 2009 2:12 pm • linkreport

It works on the phone but not if you use the stop numbers. You have to select route, direction, etc. for it for work on the phone. For some reason, putting in the stop number sends me to an error page.

by nOva on Jun 30, 2009 2:15 pm • linkreport

Pros: I will hand it to WMATA for delivering this by the first of July. I thought they would delay it till at least August.

Cons: While this might change by tomorrow, you can't access WMATA data on the Nextbus website. I prefer the "Simple Website" interface on the Nextbus website. Also, the Nextbus website enables you to select multiple routes to see their progress in Google maps (not that that is a particularly useful function though).

I'm no techie, so I don't know what is possible, but do anyone know what sort of inventive applications people might make off of this data?

by Reid on Jun 30, 2009 2:36 pm • linkreport

I just checked it against the printed schedule for a stop near me on the F6 route. Either they dropped a couple of runs, or nextbus is messed up. Schedule said approx 25 min, next bus 73 minutes.

by kenf on Jun 30, 2009 2:36 pm • linkreport

Oh, another con: it still looks like they're not capturing every bus. This was a problem with the test site. I was willing to live with it as a limitation on the system. But after all the crap they put us through with testing the system and not letting us use it, I expected a more reliable system.

by Reid on Jun 30, 2009 2:39 pm • linkreport

Ah, the NextBus commentariat is back. I've missed you guys!

@Reid -- did you honestly expect it to work BETTER than the secret service? Oh, son.

@Dave Alpert -- Can you now reveal the secret beta test that was available only RAC members?

by John Mitchell on Jun 30, 2009 4:12 pm • linkreport

the error message i get when i try SMS is that the wmata agency "is not yet available" - so i'm thinking (hoping) it'll kick into gear tomorrow.

by Jami on Jun 30, 2009 4:46 pm • linkreport

I was able to access the site late on Sunday. As for the listing on Nextbus's site of WMATA, I found a workaround by just replacing the www with wmata. They might add it to the main site this week for easier access.

Also, as for the weird predictions, it all depends on whether the radio is working or the operator logs onto it. Some radios have not been working which might contribute to the length prediction times.

by Ken on Jun 30, 2009 7:50 pm • linkreport

Also, as for the weird predictions, it all depends on whether the radio is working or the operator logs onto it. Some radios have not been working which might contribute to the length prediction times.

Aren't those the exact problems that WMATA was supposed to have spent the last two years fixing? If this does not come out of the box with reliability well over 80%, what the hell was the point of keeping us in the cold (or heat) for the last two years?

by Reid on Jun 30, 2009 10:13 pm • linkreport

SMS is on its way? Good to know.

Perhaps this is coming, but I would really like to be able to use my regular old cell phone to find out when a Red or Green line train will be there. I know I have had the ability to do this from a laptop for ages, and this is more important for buses (especially after all these years). But it is on the agenda to add MetroRail to the the NextBus system so I can get this info on the road with forking out a bunch of extra money to Verizon (or ATT or whoever?)

by DavidDuck on Jun 30, 2009 11:43 pm • linkreport

When I click on the link, I get a real time map of bus stops, not bus positions.

by Josh on Jul 1, 2009 10:08 am • linkreport

I take that back. It does show buses, as well! Cool!

by Josh on Jul 1, 2009 10:12 am • linkreport

just checked -- SMS is live today!!! super excited about this.

by Jami on Jul 1, 2009 10:41 am • linkreport

I have bookmarks set up on my phone for the 2 spots I tend to take the bus from and it was timed for perfection both times I've taken the bus since setting this up. This is great!

Of course, I'd feel a lot better about this if the Red Line wasn't such a mess.

by HM on Jul 1, 2009 12:09 pm • linkreport

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