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Hackers, Transit App one-up MTA

Just over two weeks ago the Maryland Transit Administration rolled out the beta version of the long-delayed bus tracker that’s intended to give riders the ability to track their bus’ arrival in real time.

But the tracker had few of the tools riders were hoping it would include. It’s only available by accessing the MTA website and not as an app for smartphones. The tracker also didn’t provide real-time bus tracking as much as it provided times the bus was expected to arrive based on data from older GPS and radio signals.

When pressed as to why the tracker, which the state spent $2.7 million developing, was so rudimentary, Transit App claimed it was told it would be too expensive, about $600,000, to include the features many riders wanted

That’s when a group of “civic hackers” and Transit App stepped in. By pulling the real time data from the MTA’s site the hackers and Transit App were able to put together a real-time tracking app for Baltimore bus lines for free.

Now Transit App, using a riders locations provides the time for when the various buses will arrive at a stop near you in real time.

Correction: A statement in this post was previously attributed to the MTA when it was Transit App that made the claim. 

About Adam Bednar

Adam Bednar covers real estate and development for The Daily Record.