OMG Transit, a mobile tool designed to help Twin Cities residents navigate a growing number of transportation options, is now available as a standalone app on both iOS and Android.
The tool was born a year ago when a team of local developers used Metro Transit data to more cleanly plot real-time bus arrival information. Since then, they have added Nice Ride, Car2Go and Zipcar to become more than just a transit app.
"There’s so many different transit options that are all emerging and it’s becoming increasingly easier and easier for people to get around town and go completely car-free," said co-founder Matt Decuir. "And OMG Transit makes that even easier because we give you real-time information about all of your nearest transit options in one easy-to-use interface.”
Within the app, users can view transportation options around them as a list or a map. Car2Go cars can be reserved through the app after linking your account. Decuir said they hope to add additional services, such as local car sharing company HOURCAR.
The most unique feature in the new app allows users to set an alarm that alerts them to an approaching bus. So a user could request to be alerted five minutes before the 8:30 a.m. No. 6 arrives at their stop, based on GPS data.
“The idea is instead of checking the app compulsively because you need to catch the 4:30 bus or something, if you … set an alert we’ll send you a push notification," Decuir said. "However many minutes before the bus is supposed to arrive – in real-time.”
The bus times displayed in OMG Transit are real-time unless they are followed by a "?" symbol. The times are derived from GPS data provided by Metro Transit, which is also available in a more cumbersome format through their mobile NexTrip site.
Metro Transit, which just revamped its website, is also planning to release an iOS and Android app in 2015, according to spokesman John Siqveland. Siqveland said it will include NexTrip, a trip planner, rider alerts and an interactive map.
OMG Transit previously operated only as a mobile website, but released its iOS app on Monday. It has been available in the Android app store for several weeks. Decuir said they currently have about 1,000 unique users to their website per week. Slightly more than 550 users have set up accounts.
In addition to the Twin Cities, OMG Transit is also currently active in Portland, Chicago and San Fransisco. They plan to expand to Atlanta, Salt Lake City and Seattle.
The app is free, but Decuir said they hope to eventually add a function that allows users to support the service through voluntary donations.
“We don’t want to create any unnecessary barriers to getting transit information," Decuir said.