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diane dohm

24 neighbors want the Next Bus MUNI app to give me info on how full the bus is in San Francisco.

For example, "Crowded beyond belief!"

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Alan Joseph Williams
Luke Bornheimer
Fiona Tang
Trishan Arul
Aurelio Tinio
Lena
Romain Nervil
Corinna King-Brown
Patrick Hunton
Loic
A. L. Pisani
Matthew Mansfield
Meli
Hunter Franks
Andy
Tee Parham
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Tom K.

With many of our MUNI routes overflowing with passengers at peak times, I wonder if MUNI has explored double decker buses. They would be a welcome relief to people with disability and others squeezing themselves on the bus.

www.straitstimes.com/breaking-...

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Posted Mar 20, 2014
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Tom K.

It seems like some sort of integration with this would make sense.

Transit Screen displays communicate real-time transit information at any location with a single, information-rich display. Transit Screen displays include all major transit agencies within the San Francisco Bay Area, including: San Francisco Muni (Buses and Muni Metro), AC Transit (Oakland, Alameda County) and BART. Transit Screen also includes minor agencies Emery Go Round and Dumbarton Express.

transitscreen.com/san-francisc...

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Posted Aug 1, 2013
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Meli

@Casey - Thanks for the app link, I've downloaded it and will start using it this week during peak commute hours. Pretty cool that it also indicates timetables. I currently just use NextMuni for its simple purpose of timetable, curious to see how Moovit turns out.

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Posted Jan 14, 2013
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Hunter Franks

One of the solutions that came out of the transit hackathon: hattery.com/reroutesf/ was an app that shows you how many riders are on the bus (the MTA does have this data). I can't locate the project site, but I had the chance to go to the hackathon debrief meeting and the MTA is forming a working group to figure out how to implement some of the solutions.

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Posted Dec 27, 2012
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diane dohm

well, you guys live in a transit hub of sorts and are fed many lines in different directions. for me, and a lot of other people, it is a problem. i'm an avid muni-rider, and hate having to push and squeeze my way onto a super-full bus. if the muni bus was full, it used to not even stop (not sure if it still does this). if i know that my 38 or 38L are going to be full (ALL BUSES coming to my stop), then i want to know that a few blocks away the 3 is arriving in a couple minutes and has plenty of room on it.

it's really about making smarter apps that do more than 1 thing. i don't want my nextbus app to only tell me when the next bus is coming. i want it to tell me the conditions as well (both on-bus conditions and traffic, meaning slow traffic down X street, so suggest you to use another route that will take you to a similar stop quicker). i'm still thinking that muni would need to be involved at some level, but unsure how at the moment.

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Posted Oct 25, 2012
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Luke Bornheimer

I was talking with my girlfriend, someone who takes buses and MUNI often, last night about this idea and she wasn't sure this is a problem that needs to be solved. That is, when a bus/train is full, she just waits for the next one or hops on another train or bus nearby. Now, we do live near 14th and Market, so our access to various forms of public transit is pretty great.

But, it still begs the question, how big of a problem is this for people and do they want/need it solved? How many people need to know if the next bus is full and, more importantly, will change their plans immediately upon finding out the next bus is full?

Separately, what areas of the city and what bus lines are most affected by this issue? Could it be solved by taking observational data about 'fullness' and passing that on to SF MUNI, so they can add additional buses on routes and at times that need it?

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Posted Oct 25, 2012
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Luke Bornheimer

Good stuff, Diane!

The biggest challenge with a 'Wave for public transit' is that Waze works so well because people get value out of having the app open and, as a result, the app gets traffic data because they have the app open. Users of a 'Waze for public transit' wouldn't get any value from having the app open *after* they could see it down the street. As such, the app would be closed, and the phone be in their pocket, by the time they got on the bus. As such, it would take a lot of thought and effort for the user to want to open the app to report that the bus is full.

I'm not saying it's impossible or won't succeed, but a 'Waze for public transit' would have a serious 'chicken and egg' problem…

What about a mobile website that gets your current location, asks you which bus linke you're on and in what direction you're heading and asks if the bus is 'near full' or 'completely full'?

At a higher level, how valuable is this app considering that another bus comes every 15-30 minutes?

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Posted Oct 24, 2012
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diane dohm

All good points, Luke. I still really, really, really want an app like waze for transit. That's the endpoint that I'd ideally like to see.

I do see some issues with the sole usage of twitter for this as not everyone is on twitter, and it also means that you'd have to check twitter in order to find out if a bus is full. Also, even if someone tweets that bus line 38 at Geary and Van Ness is FULL, it doesn't necessarily tell you which bus that is.... bus 38 going East or West.... etc. There seems to be a lot of variables to manage. I wonder if my SFMTA contacts can get me in touch with tech people on the MUNI side of the operation....
hm...
let's keep pondering this...

I know that the SFMTA (in conjunction with hattery) just had a techie sort of contest thingie this past weekend... www.hattery.com/reroute/
I wonder what came of that. Anyone know of someone who participated? Would be great to hear some news about that.

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Posted Oct 24, 2012
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Luke Bornheimer

FWIW, I posted this idea as an answer to the following question on Quora, "What are the best ideas for mobile apps that haven't been made yet?" www.quora.com/Mobile-Applicati...

My answer includes thought after posting my first comment here, "technically, the only buses that reliable data matters for are ones that are near, or at, capacity." That is, the alert mechanism, be it a hashtag on Twitter or something else, only has to be used when a bus is near, or at, capacity. This could help with focusing the mechanism / solution on only these situations.

Also, perhaps a Twitter account would be more effective for people to @mention when a bus is at, or near, capacity. That way, the Twitter account could relay the information to it's followers or could have an account for each respective bus line, so that people can follow only the buses they take. What are people's thoughts on this approach?

Thumb7c91189725f0a9391268c09e34c31fa4

What are the best ideas for mobile apps that haven't been made yet?

Luke Bornheimer's answer: An app that tells, in real-time, you how close to capacity a specific bus is (e.g. "empty", "partly", "full", etc.) and predicts "fullness" for future trips. This idea is being discussed on Neighborland at neighborland.com/ideas/sf-the-next-bus-muni-app-to

There are ser...

www.quora.com/permalink/TpHKTLQPj

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Posted Oct 24, 2012
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Luke Bornheimer

I really want this problem to be solved, though I'm not sure the solution as simple as just using a hashtag and relying on random people to see a sticker and tweet using the hashtag in a real-time and reliable manner. The biggest challenges I see with getting reliable data are:

1) Using tweets w/ a hashtag will likely result in unreliable & incomplete data. At what level of capacity should you tweet? What should the tweet say? What if people don't see the sticker because the bus is too full?

2) Will SF MUNI allow us to post stickers throughout the buses? If so, how many?

3) Getting reliable capacity data is hard because there is no real-time data collected with regards to capacity and I'm not sure there is a way to reliably collect the data. The only two ways I can think of to get *reliable* data would be to (a) have all passengers tag in *and* out of the bus, which takes too much work for the rider and won't be enforced, or (b) use scales or cameras, which would be way too costly.

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Posted Oct 24, 2012
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