Over two years ago, Public Transport Victoria — in a manner so clandestine it would have impressed the pants off most international spy agencies — released a revamped version of its transport app for iOS. Unfortunately, the app went from a glorified, though extremely useful, electronic timetable to an overly streamlined, difficult-to-use toy that myself and other uses quickly abandoned. Earlier this month, it finally received a massive update that’s essentially brought us full circle, transforming it into a modern version of the classic Metlink app.
The update has been well-received on the App Store, with its rating jumping from a paltry two stars to a respectable four. Along with fixes to allow the program to run on newer devices and iOS versions, the app is now entirely online, with no offline mode. Figuring out how to get somewhere is easier, with quick access to either “nearby” stops, or the good old “next 5” tab if you want to see how often services are running and to where.
It’s unclear who developed the new app — the “original” revamp was outsourced to Melbourne-based jTribe, though it appears to have removed any reference to the app from its website and PTV as a client. In fact, the only link I could find is this news post regarding “rollout” issues from 2012. Not that I have a problem understanding why the company would rather forget the app ever existed.
What’s interesting is that the Victorian Government Data Directory recently made an API available so developers can access real-time information for public transport schedules, opening the doors to third-party timetable apps. One wouldn’t have been surprised if PTV abandoned its own effort altogether and let the ecosystem sort it out, so it’s good it hammered what it did have into a usable shape.
Public Transport Victoria iPhone app [App Store]