Calgarians to be left without official transit app as city transitions service

The City of Calgary is replacing its trip planning app, leaving users without an official transit planning service for up to a month. 

City says new app will offer transportation modes beyond busing

Firas Alkhuzahi uses Calgary Transit’s current trip planning app to check whether his bus will be late. That app expires soon. (Colleen Underwood/CBC)

The City of Calgary is replacing its trip planning app, leaving users without an official transit planning service for up to a month. 

Calgary Transit is replacing its current app with one that will allow people to plan trips on different modes, such as bikes, buses and car share. People will also be able to pay for their bus and CTrain fare with that app. Currently, the trip planning and fare apps are separate.

But in between the old and new versions, there will be a period of up to a month when no Calgary Transit branded trip planning app will be available to the public, the city says. 

That means people will need to find alternative ways to plan their transit trips.

My Fare, the mobile ticketing app, will not be impacted.

"That's a bit of a hiccup with how this worked out, because we would have certainly preferred to have eliminated this gap in the middle," said Jonathan Lea, senior consultant with Calgary Transit.

The contract with the current vendor is expiring, and Lea says the app will not be available after March 14. 

He says the city will still need a few more weeks before the new app will be ready and available to the public. The request for proposals for a new vendor closed this week.

In the short term, people can turn to third party apps like Google Maps, or use Calgary Transit's website to plan their trip, Lea says. He notes they all have access to transit's real time data, which tracks a bus's location using GPS.

"If this was the only way that people could plan their trips, then we would have taken a different approach and probably rushed through some of the other things, but we decided we'd rather take the time … make sure that the supplier that we get signed up in the end is advancing the customer experience," said Lea.

Calgary resident Firas Alkhuzahi says he uses the app regularly and looks forward to the new version, despite the gap in service.

"As long as the app is better, as long as it's more accurate, I mean that's OK," said Alkhuzahi.

Another frequent transit app user, Valina Swanson, says she already uses Google Maps to double check arrival times. 

She says she welcomes an updated version.

"As long as it's working the way it's supposed to," said Swanson.

Lea says he is confident customers will return to using the city's transit app — once they see it's a better product with more features. 

"Being able to plan trips on different modes like bikes and buses and car share and being able to pay for the transit fare in the app, I think those features will help to get our customers back."


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