The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority doesn’t have its own smartphone application to help you find the best way to use its system — but it does officially have a favorite app.
Earlier this summer, the T held a contest to find the most helpful app out of dozens that exist to help you get around with the MBTA. This week, it chose to publicly endorse Transit App, a program made by a Montreal-based company.
MBTA General Manager Brian Shortsleeve said partnering with the app will ensure customers have an “easy and convenient way to provide feedback” to the T. The official endorsement will also help lead more customers to use one particular program, in case they get overwhelmed by all the choices available.
Jake Sion, director of strategy and development at Transit App, says the move will help the program — which includes real-time departure information, stop announcements, and trip planning — get more exposure.
“It’ll be very useful for us because the MBTA has a unique ability to market to their own customers,” he said.
Sion said the company is developing some new features for T users: For one, it will soon launch real-time trip planning, which will help guide customers to routes with the least delays.
And Transit App also wants to develop a way for customers to crowdsource their delays and problems, so people can avoid certain stations or routes. Think about it as Waze for transit.
The T has been a pioneer among transit agencies in giving developers access to its real-time information on departures and arrivals. As soon as it released that treasure trove of data seven years ago, developers created websites and smartphone apps to help pinpoint where your subway or your train is in real time. Sion said he’s excited to be part of that revolution.
“The MBTA has always been at the forefront of open data, and I think their approach for making data available has always been important and useful,” he said.