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August 15, 2018

'Transit' app launches crowdsourced real-time public transit data in Philly

The company promises second-by-second updates for SEPTA, PATCO, NJ Transit and DART

Public Transit Apps
04242018_SEPTA_fire_TC Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

An eastbound trolley enters the 19th Street station.

Crowdsourced transit-tracking mobile app Transit launched vehicle locations for SEPTA, PATCO, NJ Transit and DART on Wednesday.

According to Transit’s release about the Philadelphia launch, the app works in part thanks to users who inform others about the location of buses, subway cars, and any other sort of public transportation with the “GO” feature, hence the “crowdsource” part of Transit’s model. (It works like Waze in that regard.)

Users who help out others by using the “GO” feature will rack up a personal score of how many riders they’ve helped each month.

(You might want to check your cellphone’s data plan before spending your days informing fellow Philadelphians about transit locations.)

For those worried about privacy concerns — this app, after all, is purportedly tracking you across (and below) the city’s streets — Transit claims the data collected from users who interact with the “GO” feature is “anonymous.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Market-Frankford Line and Broad Street Line did not have live GPS tracking, and were relying on scheduled stop times. Regional Rail, such as the Trenton line, did have live GPS vehicle locations.

Transit says it began generating data with test programs in Canada, then moved on to New York City and Los Angeles.

The Transit app is available for free for iOS on both the App Store and Google Play store.

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