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If you are a regular reader of CN, you already know that I am a huge fan of public transport — even though my friends (real friends not Facebook marketing friends) think I am “on crack” when I talk about buses and subways.
Last month I wrote about the launch of BusTime, a service that the NYC MTA (that’s the public transport organization) launched to help bus riders know where the next bus is currently located and how long before it arrives at the passenger’s desired boarding location. BusTime has been live on the M16 route in Manhattan since last April and was introduced in Brooklyn on the B63 route last month.
Today I learned of a very cool mashup using the open-source BusTime and the popular voice API service Twilio. Developed by John Keefe, his application “tells you” when the next B63 bus will arrive. His colleague mentioned that she wanted a very simple way to know when the next bus would arrive to her stop and not have to use SMS or a fancy iPhone or Android mobile app. John build the mashup in one day and to use it is simple, John explains:
“Dial 646-480-7193. When prompted, enter 308333 or any of the bus stop codes for the B63 line.”
John’s blog post provides some great detail about how he coded the functionality using Twilio and some logic. He noted that Twilio charges $1/month for the phone number plus $0.01/call. It seems like you can’t go a day anymore without hearing about a neat hack using Twilio. Currently you need to know the bus stop code for your stop but I am sure eventually you might be able to just say the name of the stop into the phone.
What’s really awesome about John’s mashup is that anyone can use it as long as they have a phone – unlike many of the other travel services which require smart phones.