In an Australian first, Sydney commuters will now be able to see which train carriages are packed like sardines and which are empty (like my soul during a morning commute). The data is now available to a wide range of transport apps including TripView, NextThere and more - but which ones should you be using?
The update rolled out earlier this week and provides data across the half a million plus trips on Waratah type trains across Sydney. Sensors detect how 'full' a carriage is based on its individual weight, with differing readouts across the various apps showing how full a train is - and by extension, whether or not you're likely to get a seat. It's a good initiative, though there are still plenty of older trains on the Sydney network where the data won't be available.
Regardless, if you're using public transport a lot in Australia's biggest city, you've got a good selection of apps at your disposal. Here's the ones to use:
My go-to app for my peak hour commutes - as an Android user - and a really simple app to use. If it's trains you're using and you know your route, this is up-to-the-minute updating. Works seamlessly for me and with the passenger update, provides information on seat availability by showing each carriage as a grey rectangle - more full carriages display as yellow, while empty ones are green. Also works for public transport in Melbourne. You can pay a small fee to get the full version, which saves your most used routes. Well worth it.
Nice, clean UI with great maps and very similar interface to TripView. You can also sign up for the 12 month subscription for $5.99. It is rated highly by users and that small fee goes towards saving you a little extra time getting from your Point A's to your Point B's. However, this one is Apple only, so Android users will have to look elsewhere. Carriage and seat availability appears in a similar manner to TripView, so you can determine how far down the platform you're going to want to stand to slide into a seat.
Transport for NSW's own app, the big advantage of the Opal Travel App is that it will store the details of your Opal card, with a balance and top up features available. I haven't been able to locate where the carriage weights and passenger information comes up - so that's a negative - and the fact that you are always planning out the trip instead of just being able to see all the available services at the press of a button is a downer. Again, it does track your Opal though, so that's a handy addition.
Transport Info NSW (webpage)
A convenient way to search across all the differing routes and to plan your trips a little better than some of the other apps because of the sheer breadth of options it gives you based on the location you put in. Also features approximate pricing for each trip but doesn't quite have the UI functionality of the rival apps built just for tracking. More of a route planner than an app / page you use to keep you updated to the minute.