10 September 2009

PlymGo is Go again


It should iron out all the niggles you told us about since the first launch

PlymTransit on Twitter

I mentioned Plymgo a few days ago so its nice to bring an update on progress of what promises to be a useful service.
Dear PlymGo Users,
Just a note to bring your attention to a new improved version of PlymGo, which was released at the end of August. You may have already noticed the new site, which incorporates a web data service providing access to all public transport information for the south west. It should iron out all the niggles you told us about since the first launch, but you may notice it works slightly differently from the previous version, giving you better results from addresses than postcodes. Please remember to pick a town or city though as PlymGo will also help you with journeys starting or finishing some distance outside the Plymouth city boundary.
The pick from map search facility is also back up and running, and the maps shown in the journey summary pages (once you have clicked on a mode) include pointers to show you the various stages of your journey. For walking, cycling and driving it also specifies the route, giving you a red line to follow across the map. On the journey results pages you will notice that you can use your mouse wheel to scroll in and out of the maps so you can more easily get the detail you need to see a particular part of your route.
Launch of the latest version also marks the start of the behind the scenes development of some brand new features to be added to PlymGo later in the year such as:

* Live bus times – currently only available on www.plymouth.gov.uk/checkthatbus
* Road closures information – so you can see when your usual route needs a bit of a diversion
* Car parks space availability
* Improved directions between modes of transport
* More layers of information you can view on the maps – e.g. locations of recycling banks

These new features will shortly be available when you are already out and about via:
* A web kiosk version of PlymGo on the iplus terminals already installed throughout the city
* Bespoke mobile phone version of PlymGo with simplified features for ease of use on a small screen
You may have noticed that whilst work was being done to hook up to the new data service, a trimmed down version of PlymGo was in place – thank you for your patience in using this simplified version over the past couple of months. I hope you will join me in putting the new, improved PlymGo to the test…
Many thanks for your continued support. We will be in touch when the new features of Phase two start to go live. Happy journey planning! Angharad

It is certainly good to see the improvements that have been made so far. Using the map to select your start and end points is a lot easier than selecting using post codes (who knows the post code of your local bus stop?) It all seems a lot faster too which is good. You do still get a few odd suggestions but generally these seem few and far between compared to previous times I have tested the service. The screen shot above is my morning run to work and it does suggest the Taxibus although it seems its the earlier one than I normally get. The only odd one out on this screen shot is the 3rd bus suggestion which states I should catch Citybus 50 to Derriford and then change to a First 7 to Derriford roundabout - I can stay on the 50 and get a through journey to the roundabout and beyond, although I can understand how the software wouldn't pick things like this up.
Another test on pretty much the same run gave me pointed me to two taxibus runs, one taking 14 mins direct the other suggested getting off at Derriford and walking the rest of the way!


The other good news about this service is the promise of more to come. Live bus information just has to escape from the awful checkthatbus site - the sooner the better!

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