Unclear on the concept: Mass transit version

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MetroTransit has sent out a press release touting NexTrip, a tool it’s created to allow bus riders to see how long before the next bus leaves from their stop.

“NexTrip is an important enhancement to our customer service efforts,” said Metro Transit’s Brian Lamb. “By leveraging technology we already have in place, we can provide amenities like NexTrip to give our customers even greater confidence in the reliability of their service.”

For many commuters, however, an “ammenity” isn’t an online gizmo. It’s a bus.

It’s 7:58 a.m. — the peak of the morning commute — and here I am sitting at a Metro Transit bus station in a city of 50,000, just one sliver of Maplewood removed from the boundary of St. Paul.

Using NexTrip (it’s a tab next to the Trip Planner on the right side of Metro Transit’s home page), I find that the next bus to downtown St. Paul is at 3:44 this afternoon. If I want to go to 6th and Hennepin in Minneapolis, I only have to wait until 5:40 this afternoon.

  • B2

    Come on Kids, lets get some of those natural gas buses and start our own bus company, there’s an empty barn right down the street (the old Gillette building on Prince and Broadway would be perfect). 40 years ago a friend who was an engineering grad was sent to Germany as part of a Minnesota study investigating Light Rail systems in other countries. FORTY years ago. (I was 2 at the time). He loved what he saw and served on the committee until it disbanded. His analysis – it won’t happen, Americans love their cars too much. Sigh.

  • http://www.skyseastone.net/jvstin/ Paul

    For many commuters, however, an “ammenity” isn’t an online gizmo. It’s a bus.

    Bob Collins FTW.

    The gizmos and geegaws are fine and welcome–but in the end, we want the bus (or the train).

  • http://minneapolis.metblogs.com Erica M

    Bus service and Metro Transit’s website are two totally different things with totally different people running them. So yeah, we’d like better bus service, but the website (and development thereof) will plug away regardless.

    I would first like Metro Transit’s regular website to be usable via mobile phone. That would make me really happy.

    NexTrip is most valuable to people who already know the bus system really well. You need to know already exactly what bus to take where and where to transfer if necessary. Then you can look up where that bus you’re looking for is with NexTrip. It won’t tell you what bus to get on in the first place. It’s useful, but it’s putting the cart before the horse, IMO.

  • Tom

    The MTC web site sucks. When planning a bus trip downtown to catch a Twins day game three weeks ago, I eventually had to abandon the unhelpful site for their live phone help.

    Also, more generally, I live in Brooklyn Park and work in Edina. If there was a direct limited stop bus line on 169 from, say, Anoka/Champlin to Eden Prairie that would pick me up near the Devil’s Triangle (yikes!) and drop me off at Valley View Road at times of day that work for my employment I would use it all the time.

    But I’m not going to take a 2.5 hour bus ride EACH WAY through downtown Minneapolis to get sort of near work, at times of day that are too early in the morning and too late at night for anybody.