Victorian public transport cooperative Metlink is working to deliver apps for Android and Windows Phone 7 customers following an explosion in the use of its online offerings in the last 12 months.
(Go tram go image by Scott Sandars, CC BY-SA 2.0)
In its annual report released this week, Metlink said that its website, containing a trip planner, route and fare information and interruption data, attracted over 22.2 million hits — a 48 per cent increase on last year's figures.
Metlink's iPhone app achieved over 210,000 downloads by customers and an app for Nokia handsets was successfully trialled and deployed to the Ovi Store, achieving over 3000 hits in its test phase.
Development of apps for the Android and Windows Phone 7 is currently underway. Metlink told ZDNet Australia in a statement that passengers can expect the apps within months. Metlink is also planning upgrades to the successful iPhone app including support for real-time interruption information.
The push to develop apps across platforms fits into Metlink's campaign to make public transport information easier to come by in Victoria.
"A focus is for Metlink and public transport operators to act as an industry cooperative to address network-wide issues and connectivity through better information, technology, signage, way-finding and service changes to ensure connections and changes between and across the modes of public transport," said Metlink chairman John McMillan.
"With 74 per cent of Melburnians using public transport to get to work, school or leisure activities, and 16 per cent of journeys involving some combination of train, tram and/or bus, making it easier for people to use the whole system is a must," McMillan added.
Survey data collected by Metlink indicates that many passengers are using internet-enabled handsets, with more intending to take up a smartphone as their next handset.
Forty-one per cent of passengers surveyed by Metlink were using Nokia handsets to get information on their journey. However, 63 per cent of those users said that their next phone would be an iPhone.
Metlink also reported initial success with the take-up and integration of the myki smarter ticketing system. The Public Transport Ticketing Authority told ZDNet Australia in a statement that 20 per cent of daily trips are made using the myki smart card, with over 100,000 unique myki cards now in circulation.
The myki system is currently facing government scrutiny by the new Coalition Government led by Premier Ted Baillieu after the system's troubled deployment by the previous Labor Government led by John Brumby.
Myki's laundry list of problems include budget and deadline overruns, a massive card recall, failed transactions and substantial over-credits to myki accounts due to a "programming error".