Adams Morgan resident Jason Rosenbaum created his own Metro bus tracking app after the Nextbus app stopped working in December. BusTrack DC is now available for free download in the Apple iTunes store.
"I was looking for a replacement for the app that stopped working," Rosenbaum told Patch. "I built this because I use this app every day," he added.
The new app relies on a public feed of GPS data that WMATA publishes. It acts as an interface to allow your phone to use that data in a meaningful way.
Rosenbaum described the key features in an email:
- finds bus stops near your current location, so you can see where you have to walk to catch the bus
- clicking on stops brings up real time predictions from WMATA for when each bus line is due next at that stop
- for buses without predictions from WMATA, the lines are still listed so you know what bus lines service that stop
- clicking on a line brings up a route map for that line, so you can figure out if that mystery bus coming down the block is going your way.
The app is free and open source, so other programmers can help create copies for Android and Blackberry and improve on what Rosenbaum created.
"I’m not an app developer. This is my first app," he said. "I wanted to make it open source. I wanted to allow people to help me make it better."
He said it took him about a month or a month-and-a-half of working on evenings and the weekends to develop the app using web technology that he was already familiar with.
He said his fiance did not mind since he was not "slaving" over the app.
On a lazy Sunday, "She’s reading the newspaper and I’m coding," he said with a laugh.
You can download the BusTrack DC app for your iPhone for free here.
Read more about the app on the website Rosenbaum created for it. Though the app is free, there is a PayPal button on the site if you want to donate something for it.