Getting around Prince George can be very difficult, especially for those who are new to the city and thus unfamiliar with the regular transit routes. Students hailing from lager metropolises might be used to a short five-minute bus wait with the possibility of transferring to multiple routes, but as the residents of Prince George who frequently bus know, the Prince George transit system is nowhere near that convenient – especially in winter.
However, a UNBC computer science student has taken navigating the PG transit system into the 21st century. UNBC Master’s student Xinyi Zhuang created the iPhone app PG Transit to make a fast, easy and free way for residents to get to their bus on time.
“I used to see many bus riders, especially people unfamiliar with the transit schedule, reading the paper-made Rider’s Guide,” says Zhuang, who came to UNBC last January from his home in Quanzhou, Fujian, southern China. “I think this app has great potential to make a better public transit system if there is a way to directly communicate with the digital database of B.C. transit. It will be easier to notice schedule changes and notifications.”
So far the app has around 100 downloads after its official release on the 12th of September. At first Zhuang said he considered charing $0.99 to download the app, but then reconsidered. “It makes me happy just to see my fellow students and transit riders using the app, and it’s also good for my resume,” says Zhuang. “It’s my career ambition to work at Google someday, so I hope this can be a step in that direction. ” Zhuang says he hopes to soon develop the app for Android.
While the obvious Prince George transit troubles cannot be fixed by an app, the app does make planning the journey quite simple. It features an easy-to use interface with every route and stop marked on a corresponding Google map. Click on the route you need and the stop closest to you, and the time of the next bus appears on the screen. “Way long overdue – thanks so much for taking the initiative to build this very useful app,” says one reviewer.
The app can be downloaded for free in the iTunes app store, and a link may also be found on the UNBC website.