All I want is for the NJ Transit app to not suck

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Last month, I traded successful my ludicrous New York City rent for a much affordable life successful Hackensack, New Jersey. (Yes, it’s each my money sewage me.) Many of my friends who’d migrated to Jersey warned maine astir nan NJ Transit app. It’s not good, they said. I didn’t return them excessively seriously. I was forged successful nan fires of nan Metropolitan Transit Authority’s continually surgery website circa 2001. After a seven-year stint successful Tokyo navigating nan labyrinthian Tokyo subway and bus system, what nationalist transit app could ever befuddle me?

Hubris is simply a bitch.

Upon opening nan NJ Transit app, I was bombarded pinch much menus than I knew what to do with. Nothing is uniformly named. App navigation is simply a matryoshka doll of ill-organized tabs. Would you for illustration to favourite nan reside of your location and activity successful nan Trip Planner? Sorry. You’ll person to constitute it successful each time. (Also, each nan Trip Planner way suggestions are terrible. The fastest way should never involve taking a train to a autobus to a train to a bus.)

Whenever I thought I’d figured everything out, nan app would propulsion different curveball that near maine facepalming harder than Captain Picard. For example, I wanted to spot a schedule and a database of each nan stops connected my caller autobus way successful order. It’s a elemental capable ask. I went to spell find nan schedule for nan four stops adjacent my location and nary of them were listed. In nan real-time autobus locator feature, you tin only position a database successful alphabetical order. That’s good if you’ve been connected nan aforesaid way for years. But whenever I’m caller to an area, I consciousness little anxious if I person a consciousness of wherever my extremity was successful narration to others.

Screenshot of autobus way connected NJ Transit app

Clicking connected nan schedule links sends you to a PDF timetable, but it’s not guaranteed your extremity will beryllium included.

Screenshot: Victoria Song / The Verge

After screaming into a pillow, I recovered a workaround. If you slow zoom successful connected nan real-time autobus locator map, you tin cautiously hunt for nan stops earlier and aft yours. If you pat nan extremity ever truthful gently, you tin find retired nan sanction and nan buses arriving successful nan adjacent hour. Just don’t spell excessively quickly aliases nan app will crash.

Using nan NJ Transit app isn’t arsenic bad for trains, but there’s nary logic for location to beryllium 2 wholly different experiences wrong nan aforesaid app. Using it for nan autobus feels for illustration stepping past a somewhat crooked painting, straightening it, and uncovering nan adjacent time that it’s crooked again. Some days, nan app useful good erstwhile I scan my ticket. Others, I extremity up precocious contempt leaving early because nan driver has to patiently explicate really to clasp your telephone truthful nan caller scholar tin decently scan nan app. When I caput to nan office, I now usage Google Maps and Citymapper to fig retired nan fastest route, and NJ Transit to bargain my summons and spot erstwhile nan autobus is coming to my stop. On nan measurement home, I person to adhd a 3rd app to nan operation because nan NJ Transit app doesn’t see immoderate gross accusation for nan Port Authority Bus Terminal. This is unnecessarily clunky for a thrust that shouldn’t beryllium that complicated.

And it doesn’t person to beryllium this way.

Despite nan truth that nan Tokyo subway representation looks for illustration a nightmarish web, getting astir is highly easy — moreover if you don’t speak a lick of Japanese. I utilized nan Norikae Annai website while I lived there. The tract is simply a small cluttered (many Japanese website are), but you plop successful wherever you are and wherever you’re headed, time, and various options for illustration whether you for illustration definitive aliases section trains, fare, and whether you’re stopping / passing done immoderate waypoint stations. It spits retired a fewer way options based connected which is fastest, easiest, aliases cheapest. If you want a timetable, each you person to do is participate your station. There’s a way representation for nan full subway strategy if you’d alternatively position accusation that way. That’s conscionable nan tract / app I like, but location are plentifulness of high-quality alternatives.

The NYC Ferry app is very easy and straightforward." src="image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" decoding="async" data-nimg="fill">Look really easy this is to position departure times. It’s not difficult to find a database of stops either." src="image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" decoding="async" data-nimg="fill">Japan Transit Planner is nan English type of nan tract I utilized to usage successful Tokyo. It doesn’t return a brilliant to fig this app out." src="image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" decoding="async" data-nimg="fill">Why can’t nan NJ Transit app do this for my autobus route!?" src="image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" decoding="async" data-nimg="fill">

1/4

The NYC Ferry app is very easy and straightforward.

But I’m not moreover asking for NJ Transit to level up that hard. Right now, I request 3 apps (Google Maps, Citymapper, and NJ Transit) and a bookmarked PDF to thrust one bus. I’d settee for 1 decent app for illustration NYC Ferry. It takes 2 seconds to pat a route, find your stop, and a array of each nan day’s departure times and real-time estimates. You tin bargain your tickets easily. It’s not going to triumph awards, but it’d besides ne'er animate a screed for illustration this. I’d besides beryllium good if I could conscionable pat to salary everyplace and conscionable usage Google Maps aliases Citymapper to fig retired nan rest. (Technically, pat to salary exists connected immoderate NJ Transit buses, but they don’t consistently activity connected nan ones I’ve taken.)

New Jersey plans connected introducing a 15 percent fare hike later this twelvemonth and 3 percent annually starting successful 2025. Governor Phil Murphy says nan hike is justified because of each nan improvements nether his tenure. Online, commuters are asking, “What improvements?” This is an insidious problem. There’s not capable money to make nan acquisition better, truthful you jack up prices. Nobody wants to salary much for nan aforesaid crappy experience, truthful ridership goes down. Rinse and repeat. Fixing transit apps won’t break nan cycle, but it would make my commute suck less. I’d beryllium inclined to return nan autobus much frequently. My options would unfastened up. It’s a babe measurement successful nan correct guidance and, frankly, I’ll return it.

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