Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The wheels on the bus go round and round

The price of Winnipeg Transit goes up and up
up and up
up and up

The price of Winnipeg Transit goes up and up
every new year.

Like everything else in the world, and as it does every year, the price of Winnipeg Transit is going up.. This time a whole .25 cents.  To help pay for rapid transit of course.

I buy a monthly bus pass.  I do own a drivers license, and if I felt like it I could get myself a vehicle, but I prefer to take the bus, disgusting smelling vagrants, crying babies, fat people, the crazies and everyone else.  I don't know how much the price of a monthly pass will increase, but I don't really care if it goes up another $5 a month. 

Do I believe that this is necessary?  It's probably not.  It's just an easy way to get more money from the people.  Will it get Winnipeg a rapid transit network?   Not in the next few years.. and in a few years or so inflation will negate any increases in the bus price towards the city budget.  Plus, it'll probably start to go up 5 cents every year in another year or two.

However, it won't effect me.  It might even make my bus ride more pleasant if it keeps drunks and bed bug ridden drug addicts off the bus.  But then again, it probably won't keep those people off.  They often get on for free anyways and stink up the ride for paying customers.

If this ends up somehow spurring a light rail system for pembina and portage and perhaps through east kildonan down the old former rail line turned bicycle pathway, then good.  It won't, but hey I could be wrong.

I'm now going to say something nice about Winnipeg transit.  Yes, out of character, I know, but here we go:

One of the best things Winnipeg Transit has done in recent years is update their buses with GPS positioning and air conditioning.  Most importantly, they created a completely open API available in XML format to any developer to access this data over the web.  If you own an iphone or android phone and search for winnipeg transit, you will find a few apps that use this data to tell you if your bus is late, what buses are coming to the stop nearest you (detected with your phones GPS) and some offer other features.  I've used Winnipeg Bus Live, a recent addition to the android market.  It could use a few more features but it's pretty good already. If they update it to support integration with google maps or something, and perhaps even route planning.. that'd be neat.  But even if they don't, the API is available to any other developer out there to write their own, even if Winnipeg Transit doesn't bother with writing an official app. 

Sooner or later we may even be able to use our cell phones with NFC (oh you have an iphone and no NFC? awww sorry) to pay for or access transit.  They do plan to eliminate the stupid old coin boxes soon, so that'll be welcome too.  People really shouldn't be in the habit of paying for their bus trip in change, trying to short change the coin box by using pennies nickles and dimes.


Shaun M Wheeler said...

What? No mention of baby carriages? ;)

Unknown said...

What time do you ride the bus? I don't think I've noticed *too* much trouble with heavy drinkers and illicit drug users during my rides.

reedsolomon.matr1x at said...

I've already made the baby carriage rant a few times.

reedsolomon.matr1x at said...

Every once in a while they annoy me. Depends of course on which route you take.

Anonymous said...

Eliminate coinboxes? The majority of transit users don't own I-Phones or smartphones or whatever high-tech gibberish you previously mentioned.(I have a computer & cellphone & I don't know what you're talking about. Never mind some gangster from Langside).

reedsolomon.matr1x at said...

anonymous, thats the point. people who use the coin boxes are usually trying to short change the system and are people id prefer not to sit with on the bus anyways. thats an over generalization but i feel it's fair. besides, the poor can certainly apply for passes through social assistance.

Ryan said...

Hey, thanks for the shout out of my app, Winnipeg Bus Live. I just noticed your blog now. You'll be happy to know I recently added the maps feature you mentioned and I'm hoping to roll out more features soon. If you have more ideas feel free to shoot me an email. You can email me from the Android Market App page.