Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

LTA: Make Yourself Useful

IMG_20141219_071651LTA’s launch of their much criticised, and arguably useless, Taxi-Taxi@SG app, reminds me of another gripe I have about an LTA initiative. That of getting information on bus arrival times. It’s part of their MyTransport app. I’m pleased that LTA knows it “feels great to know when the bus will arrive.” Now, if only it will actually work. Reasonably well.

Alright, I’m not asking for 100% perfection in arrival timings. But it should be somewhat accurate, +/- 2 mins, most of the time. For the buses I take, at the bus stops I go to, I think half the time the information is useless. I can take a bus from just two bus stops away from its starting point, and with no abnormal traffic conditions, the timings can still be completely wrong.

In this day and age of pervasive GPS tracking, I can’t understand why it is so difficult to provide this information. If LTA is just hopelessly unable to forecast arrival times, then just make the damn data available about where their buses are. Let commuters decide for themselves. I’m sure some clever people will build an app or system to produce useful information from the raw data.

There is no reason why LTA cannot just make this work. They can track 28,000 taxis, surely tracking the 4,000 buses is child’s play in comparison.

With Taxi-Taxi@SG, it’s an irony that the situation is the other way around. I want a taxi here, right now. Why do you build an app that tells me where the taxis are? Am I supposed to go chase after the taxi? That’s just brainless. I can’t agree more than Yahoo that LTA has probably released the most useless taxi app.

All this makes me think that the people in LTA are all folks who drive cars. They don’t actually use public transport. Nor do they actually use the MyTransport app they are asking others to use. Have you noticed how traumatically slow the news ticker scrolls?

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