I make a quick try out on train apps in Bangkok, Taipei, Chicago. Overall, the best apps are from NYC and London. There are some great apps.
I admire the creativity in NYC app. They are beautiful. And app does not have advert! London has very practical apps but a little too complicated for the impatient commuter.
Train app is vastly different from bus app. It seems what the rider want is not so much on train time but on where to transit in order to go to a place. When you go to the right platform, then you worry when the train is coming.
I am doing experiments on sg trains. What the train user want?
A routine train ride means the arrival time is important. A new place to go means the map is important to know where to transit and what is the traveling time. At night, the last train info is important.
----- A day estimation -----
Routine people: 2 million
New place to go: 0.1 million
Late rider: 0.5 million
----- App useful -----
1. Instant response. Any wait more than 5 seconds is unacceptable?
2. Visual presentation. Typing should be avoided in going to a place. Search should use line selection.
3. Users are usually in panic mode with the large crowd. Thoughtless use to get arrival time is important.
No matter what, the actual site use is always more important than anything above :)
My app avoids the waiting time. But in rush hour, it is over crowded. People still have to wait for several trains before they can board. Such incidents happen only in the peak hour. 8 to 10am. 5 to 8pm.
Hopefully load information can be developed soon in 2013. If I know the next train is 100% full, I will stay at the perimeter of the station. I will only walk into the station when I know the next train is only 70% full.
Same case in choosing to take bus or train. If I know the next 2 bus is 95% full, I will walk over to take the train.
I really hope Singapore can capture the train and bus loading information. People can not only avoid the waiting time but also avoid the cannot board train or bus.
I know it takes me 5 minutes to walk to the platform from a nearby cafe. I will still wait at a cafe for a train that is only 70% full. I could have surf net or go toilet.
It is the same as bus app. Instead of waiting at the bus stop where the condition may be bad such as noise, air pollution, no seat, crowded, cold weather as in the west, I can wait at the warm cafe and go only when the empty train is coming. Life is easier this way.
Bus and train loading is coming soon. But I hope the official can consider this innovative advantage.
The US apps are very stylish and the Chinese is very practical.