April 19 was a dark day for users of Victoria's public transport system. The perfectly serviceable Metlink iPhone app, developed so travellers can plan their trips on the state's trams, trains and buses, was abruptly overridden by the Public Transport Victoria app, which I can only describe as a nightmarish piece of software. To say the backlash was fierce would be an understatement, going by the one-star review average from over 2000 customers.
Fortunately, PTV hasn't turned a deaf ear to these complaints, stating on Thursday it would republish the original Metlink app. Having used the new app myself, I can say it's ill-conceived and confusingly-designed. There are no tutorials, nothing to gracefully introduce you to the app's interface. You just have to experiment until the desired result occurs.
I did manage to get a handle on it after persisting, but even when I did get it work, I'd often be greeted with the message "No results found", instead of the requested trip info, despite providing valid input for my current and destination locations.
Not the greatest thing to see when you're standing at the ticket gate with only a few minutes to spare, trying to figure out which platform you should be on.
"PTV acknowledges that we should have launched the new PTV app as a new product in the Store rather than pushing it out as an update," the organisation said in a press release. "Users should have been given the choice to upgrade to the new interface or remain with the older app including familiar user interface and stored favourites."
The new-old version will be called "PTV Original" and should be out in the next few weeks. If you don't want to wait, you can grab Metlink Classic instead, however, upon loading the app, you'll be informed that it's no longer being maintained.
Original iPhone app will soon be available for download [Public Transport Victoria]