Friday, May 4, 2012

Singapore Apps - SG Buses

In this, the first of my series on Singapore specific apps which I think will be of value to local readers here, I would like to talk about a wonderful app which I use almost on a daily basis.

The app is called SG Buses, and as the title implies, it is an app that lets you know the timing of buses when you are at or near a specific bus stop in Singapore.

It is apparently developed by a single individual by the name of Hon Cheng Muh and it has improved tremendously since its first inception. It is free and it comes in at a mere 3.1 MB.

Firing up the app, you will get a choice of finding your required bus times based on a few ways: By GPS, by search, by bus numbers or finally, by road names.

I remember the original version of this app made use of the IRIS service to retrieve the information, and I believe it is still the same method used here. Cheng Muh has cleverly layer on top a simple but effective app interface for us to use on the road. It is designed for the iPhone but will work on the iPad using upscaling.

Arriving Bus Times

I usually prefer to use the GPS on the default Nearby option as it is the fastest way to locate your desired bus stop. At every bus top, on top of the bus number sign, there is a specific 5 digit bus stop number for each bus stop, so I tend to use that to narrow in on the right bus stop on the app.

GPS sometimes can get you a number of different bus stops, and depending where you are, the first one may not be the correct one, so you may need to double check on the 5 digit number before you confirm as you may be inadvertently getting the bus stop on the opposite side of the road.

Using The Map

Another sure fire way of getting correct bus stop information is to use the map through the same GPS screen that displays on nearby bus stops. There is a pin on the top of the screen which you can tap to bring you to familiar map screen where all the nearby bus stops are tagged.

From here, just use the GPS to find your exact bus stop and tap on the "i" to bring you to the correct bus stop. 

Either way, once you reach the bus stop screen, the list of buses for that bus stop will be shown. Just tap on the desired bus and it will show you both the next arriving bus time and the following one as well in a smaller lower corner.

Search By Roads

In addition, you can also search by either bus numbers or road names, though I doubt you will be doing that if you are in a hurry. The GPS is still the best way to go. 

I do find it useful to use this to find specific stops along the way of a particular bus for directional purposes, however.

Other than that, this is a simply a great app for Singaporeans who use the bus on a daily basis. 

For me, I like to use it straight from my house, so I can time exactly when to leave the house. Do take note, that it is also wise to buffer at least a minute ahead, as the buses have a tendency to arrive one minute before the stipulated time.

Just to be sure.

SG Buses (Free) - Click here to download the app.

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