Want to know when your bus is coming? This app can help you out


The creators of made-in-Montreal app called Transit say they've come up with a much more accurate way to track transit schedules.

The third-party smartphone app that tracks STM buses in your vicinity, as well as commuter trains, metros, and even Uber cabs, Bixi bikes and Communauto cars.

Using GPS data and schedule info provided by the STM, as well as crowd-sourced info provided by users, the app gives users an idea when a bus will arrive at any given bus stop. The app's creators estimate that while the STM's own bus schedules are 75 per cent accurate, Transit has an 86 per cent accuracy rate.

However, the head of communications for Transit, Stephen Miller, says the app isn't quite perfect — for instance, the estimated wait times aren't able to take into account things like construction and accidents along their routes.

"It's not just about buses...whether you're going from A to B with Google Maps in your car, or you're waiting for your Uber to arrive, you know those countdowns aren't always as accurate as you want them to be," he told CJAD 800's Elias Makos. "It's an issue across transportation."

Despite that issue, the estimated times of arrival tend to be accurate, more often than not.

"We took historical location data from the STM buses, and we combined that with historical location data that's submitted by our own users," he says, talking up a feature of his app called Go, "What Go does...it's a step-by-step navigator. It tells you when to leave to get your bus, when your stop is coming up to make sure you don't miss it. And as you're doing that, it'll tell you how many people you're helping with better real-time information."

The company employs about 50 people in Montreal, and the app is functional in about 200 cities around the world — including Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, London and Paris.