Alameda, California based NextBus delivers frequently updated estimates of the arrival time of the next transit vehicle at a given stop. Delivery is by electronic signs, voice response systems, SMS and the Internet, including the mobile web. NextBus is used by 45 transit systems in the US and Canada, including my hometown, San Francisco.
NextBus’ mobile web site has been an anchor tenant of the WapReview Mobile Directory for many years. I use it a lot and find it really useful if a bit dated in terms of mobile UI and look and feel.
Today @Karrio on Twitter discovered a location aware Touch Web version of NextBus at nextbus.com/webkit/. Using the location provider API exposed by the iPhone and Android browsers, it displays the next arrival times at the nearest stops along with a map showing your location and the nearby stops.
I was unable to find any announcement of the new web app on the web or even a mention of it the Nextbus site. So I guess it’s a stealth Beta. If you have a compatible phone give it a try. Most BlackBerrys and the MicroB and Mobile Firefox browsers on the Nokia N900 have location provider support and may work as well.
If your browser doesn’t expose location information or you choose to block location access, NextBus will default to showing information for a dummy location in downtown San Francisco. There’s a menu that lets you change to a different location or even a different city by picking from a list. This worked pretty well with the location-less Opera Mobile 10 Beta running on my Nokia N95-3. Opera Mini and the WebKit based Nokia browser on the N95 were also able to display the NextBus touch site with proper formatting, but clicking the menu to change the location in those two browsers had no effect.
Please leave a comment if you are able to get the NextBus touch web app working on other devices, with or without location support.
Hmm, the site works great with my BB Bold, but it notifies me that my browser doesn’t support geo-location. A shame since Bb location api is easily accessible and OS5 supports Google Gears.