Welcome to the CrackBerry Guide to Taxi and Transit applications. If you thought your BlackBerry helped you while in transit only when you’re behind the wheel, then think again. I’m not talking about keeping entertained or catching up on email either. Before you hail a cab, or before you step off of the train, you can use BlackBerry applications to help you every step of the way. Well not every step; if you want a seat without gum stuck to it, you have to look for one yourself.
I remember the first time I was introduced to the wonder that is the subway system. I know it sounds funny, but this is coming from a guy who spent the first 10 years of his life in a town so small, he and his brother and sister were the only ginger kids in town; but I digress. Not knowing where I was going, I blindly followed the friends I was visiting. Dodging through crowds, rushing to the next platform, the first few trips can be a little confusing- almost a bit scary, especially in an unfamiliar town. It doesn’t have to be. Load the following apps onto your BlackBerry, and you’ll do just fine.
Can you honestly say you are always diligent when riding the bus? Depending on the commute, your mind begins to wander and you eventually turn to brick breaker on your BlackBerry. The next thing you know, you missed your stop. With Bus Alarm installed on your GPS-enabled BlackBerry, you can be alerted, via alarm, as to when to hop off the bus. It’s quite simple to update the bus schedule, location of stops and alert tone settings. The application also informs you of your current location, as well as direction and velocity. Bus Alarm is available for $4.99 (requires OS 4.5 or higher). The lite version is only set up to sound an alarm at a specific time.
Since 1998, TAXIGUY Inc and Molson Canada have offered millions of rides through their service. In Canada, they connect nearly 20 000 cabs to one number; allowing for simple access and a simple number to remember. If you’ve had one too many wobbly-pops, even the simplest of numbers may be hard to dial. Unlike what the Captain Morgan commercial may portray, the pizza delivery guy probably won’t give you a ride home. This straight forward dialing app allows you to call with a click of a button. Using your location, the dialer then connects you to your next ride home. 1-888-TaxiGuy Dialer is free, but available only in Canada.
Taxi! Let me guess, you forgot to call ahead for a taxi right? You’re on a business trip and you may be late for an important meeting. You should have thought ahead and used Taxi Magic powered by RideCharge. Whether it be shuttles, sedans or taxis, you can use this application to schedule a ride when you need it. Through Taxi Magic, you can also shop around; comparing prices to find the best deal. To make payment easier, users can provide credit card info for automated payment; you also receive e-receipts for your records. The RideCharge instant alert system informs users when their ride is on the way and when it has arrived. The Taxi Magic application itself is free.
Oof, excuse me, whoops, pardon me. Hey? Do you mind? Sometimes, it’s not about where to get on the subway, it’s where to get off. If you want to have a clear path to the exit, you may want to consider a heavy breakfast consisting of heavy garlic and fiber. Option 2 would require you to install Exit Strategy NYC. On the downside it is (as the name suggests) only for New York City, but the up side is that it’s a great tool for those new to the city. The application provides detailed layouts of all subway stations; detailing locations of elevators, exits, hours, etc. You can also figure out where to stand to make the quickest exit or transfer. Exit Strategy NYC is available for $3.99.
MetrO, or Metro, is a free multi-platform destination for public transit information. With access to details for over 400 cities worldwide, users can quickly look up shortest route to destinations. You will be able to see the number of stops, lines to take, changes and the duration of the trip. Tourists will be especially happy to see information on tourist attractions. Metro is available for free.
Chugga chugga chugga chugga. If you’re the kind that tends to make tracks while on the tracks, this app is for you. No matter if it’s the subway, light rail or train, RailBandit has their schedules covered. GPS-enabled BlackBerry users will be able to also see if the train that they are currently on is on time, or running late. Schedules can be downloaded and updated with ease. Users will be informed of connections, peak hours, delays and more. It’s one of the quickest ways to stay on top of the latest details. The RailBandit application itself is free, but check out their website for account pricing. For example; a 6 month subscription would run you $7.50.
I find this public sharing solution quite interesting. BIXI is a bicycle sharing system based in Quebec. The public subscribe to a number of bike rentals, which can be picked up and returned to a number of stations around the city. The SpotCycle application was originally designed for use with BIXI, but has expanded to support similar programs around the globe. SpotCycle informs users of the details of each bike station. These details include; the number of bikes and the number of available docks. The application allows you to select which station(s) you want to choose to add to your favourite lists. SpotCycle is free.
Yeah, you can file this obvious choice under the category labelled “Duh”. Under Get Directions, users can switch between Car, Public Transit, or walking. Under transit, you can see fares, and times (as well as view earlier or later times). If you’re out on the town for the night, you can check out the last running times, so you can ensure you have a safe ride home. You can also get a satellite view of the bus stop to make sure you know where to find it. Oh Google, is there anything you can’t do? Google Maps is free.
Blue Technology Solutions offers their iTransitBuddy application in various cities across the US; New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington DC are all covered. In other words, there is one iTransitBuddy application for each of these cities. From iTransitBuddy, you have access to schedules, add updates, save and view favourites and notify your train information via SMS. iTransitBuddy is available for $2.99
Travellers in the UK can also stay in touch regarding the London Underground and the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) with their BlackBerry. TubeBuddy offers information on the status of specific lines or all lines at once (the statuses include closure and good service). You can also see the arrival and departure times to/from a specific station, as well as set a specific time to be notified of the statuses. TubeBuddy is free.
The BlackBerry world offers numerous taxi and transit applications that are catered to specific locations. In fact, there are so many, I would probably wear my hands down to my wrists from typing them all out. Some notable applications include; Train Guru (UK), Korean Subway Maps, BusBerry, ezSubway and NextBus DC. What do you have on your BlackBerry to get you from point A to point B? Let us know in the comments.