Updated September 18 at 2:30 pm:
The following additional “features” have been noted on the mobile interface (in addition to many reported in the comment thread):
- Service alerts started to appear this morning with announcements about the Howard Park and Roncesvalles work. However, there are two separate notices for the same thing, and no notice for the subway shutdown on the Spadina line. If I call up the page for the YUS and ask for info about Yorkdale Station, I get a wealth of material, but not the vital information that there is no service today.
- The service alerts are not hotlinked back to the longer version of the information on the main TTC site. Of course the fact that the TTC has multiple pages describing the same project/diversion makes consistency on this sort of thing difficult.
- When I call up a schedule for a route, I am presented with the weekday schedule, even though the system is smart enough to present me with the next three vehicles at my selected stop for Saturday. This has long been a problem on the desktop version of the site, and clearly has not been fixed yet.
Meanwhile, NextBus still doesn’t know about where the King car is these days. In the west end, it is back on King east of Roncesvalles, but in the east end the Queen diversion from Church to River is not reflected in the stop list. The TTC really needs to have a simple way of modifying NextBus info to reflect where routes really are.
Original Post from September 17 at 23:52:
On September 17, the TTC announced an updated version of its website with mobile device support, as well as an improved (and no longer “beta”) trip planner.
I kicked the tires briefly, and was only mildly impressed.
The announcement claims that I should be able to view service alerts on the new site, but there is no mechanism to do so. If I call up information about the 504 King car, the site does not tell me that there are any service alerts, nor, if I select a stop around which service is now diverting (e.g. Sherbourne) does it advise that there is really no service available.
The service alerts only appear if I use the trip planner, and the suggested trip involves a route with an active alert.
If I don’t know about the new mobile site, but navigate to the main ttc.ca site via my Blackberry, I get an even more malformed page than before thanks to the combined effect of Blackberry’s browser and the TTC site’s device insensitivity. The site does not detect a mobile device and offer the alternate site as an option. The link to the mobile site is at the bottom of the page should I happen to scroll that far.
There are several other issues, but I won’t dwell on the matter.
As for the Trip Planner, I tried one of my “test cases”, and it failed even more miserably than before. The requested trip is from Queen & John to Adelaide & Parliament at 4:20 pm on a weekday.
If I specify a walking distance of 250m, I am offered the following three possibilities:
- Walk east to McCaul and take the 4:34 502 car (the idea of this route operating even vaguely on time is laughable, but that’s not the trip planner’s fault) east to Parliament, then walk south.
- Take the 4:25 501 car east to Parliament, then walk south.
- Take the 501 car to University, transfer to the subway, ride to Queen Station, and then transfer to the 501 car again.
In another iteration, the planner suggested that I take the 502 from McCaul to Broadview and then double back on the 504 King (which of course doesn’t run on King right now), a practice that is invalid under transfer rules. If it were, the proper transfer point would be at River Street, not at Broadview.
As in the past version of the planner, if I accept a long enough walk, it suggests that I use the 144 Downtown Express, although it is kind enough to tell me that an extra fare is required for this option and even picks up the fact that I can board westbound on Richmond and ride around the loop.
I particularly liked a variant that had me walk east to Osgoode Station, ride around to Queen Station, and then take the 501 east to Parliament.
For another trip linking my current address at Broadview & Danforth with my former location near Eglinton west of Bayview, the trip planner consistently sends me via bus routes involving a transfer onto the 56 Leaside (this, at midnight when it doesn’t run very often), but misses the fact that I could make a one-seat ride via the 100 Flemingdon Park even though it would take a bit longer. The planner completely ignores the availability of the subway.
I can’t help having the feeling that this software may work tolerably well for some trips, but gets easily confused for those where there is a dense network of alternatives. It will be interesting to see how Google Maps handles this once the TTC sets up a data interface to this service.
Sorry TTC. You may have organized a back-patting session and an “award” for your website (or more likely your consultant tried to puff up their work), but it still has problems.