Melbourne Public Transport Android App Wrap-up

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Recently, after upgrading to a usable phone with Ice Cream Sandwich on it, I have been on the hunt for useful apps. One of these hunts was for apps that could help with my commutes, so after hunting around the marketplace and questioning friends, here is what I use to help me get around. By the way, these apps are Melbourne, Australia specific so apologies if this bares no relevance whatsoever to you and your life. Enjoy!

Train Trapper

This app is nothing short of the best Melbourne public transport app. It is fast to load and picks the closest station to your current location and presents you with a list of which train will depart when, and to where. This is extremely handy when you are roaming around the city, wander into a train station and want to catch the next train without any hassle which we had plenty of experience doing during CES.

This app also displays whether the train is cancelled or delayed and a short explanation as to what happened. Unlike the Metlink, featured later, it is really easy to read and interpret allowing for easy commuting around the Melbourne Rail network.

You can download it for free here: http://tgau.co/traintrapper 

Metlink

This app, put nicely has a horrible UX (user experience). It is just horrible. It just feels overcomplicated, is ‘thick’ menu wise and looks like something made by an amateur. In terms of functionality, it is pretty good at telling you when a bus is leaving, when a train will arrive and so on. Though that is about it. I have tried using its Journey planner many a time, only for it to produce the most incomprehensible, unreadable, irrelevant garbage.  So please, for the love of God, don’t use this app for anything other than an interactive timetable!

Though, do note that this app is still in beta so fingers crossed this Metlink work on this app and improve it to something a little more usable.

You can download the app for free here: http://tgau.co/metlinkapp

Metro Trains Mobile Site

Breaking the unwritten rules of an app wrap-up, this is actually a mobile website. There is nothing new here but this is where you go for an overview of the status of the Metro train network. Basically, the website only contains one useful webpage, which is the summary page so I can’t blab on here too much. This website also links to the Metlink app; an online timetable; a news page; and a 404 page. How nice of them.

Unlike Metlink, Metro have done quite a nice job with this website, making it also very readable and interpretable on the move. This is something I can see coming in handy in a time of chaos and confusion.

You can access the website here: http://m.metrotrains.com.au/

Tram Hunter

This is an app, which I have played with, but haven’t used on the go. Like Train Trapper, it is able to detect nearby stops (well as far as I know), browse by tram route, search for stops, and view stops on a map.

I am not a regular tram commuter so I don’t think I will ever clock up much experience with this app. though from playing with it, it is able to tell you when the next tram will leave, where and at which stop. This app is on par with the Train Trapper app in terms of design and functionality. I decided to include this because a friend recommended it to me, and I can see it being useful for some commuters.

You can download the app for free here: http://tgau.co/tramhunter

So that is it for my public transport apps. It is a little disappointing that both Metlink and Metro Trains haven’t been able to produce something that I am happy to use and able to commit to. Then again, when has the government done anything properly that they haven’t been forced to do… NBN… Sigh. Anyway, hope this helps!

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