Saturday, June 3, 2017

Montebello Bus System Steps Up Its Web Game

A screen shot from the Montebello Bus Lines website.  Click the image to enlarge.

I hadn't been to the Montebello Bus Lines website in a while and I was pleasantly surprised when I went back recently.  They've had PDF bus schedules and a system map up at least for the few years since I've been familiar with them, but now they have an interactive Google-based map!  It plots all the bus routes and stops.  When you click on a bus stop, it tells you when the next few buses will arrive.  It also shows you where all of buses actually are based on real-time GPS tracking.  If you click on the icon for a bus it will tell you if the bus is on time or behind schedule (and by how many minutes).  It works reasonably well on my desktop and on my cell phone (using Google Chrome in both cases).  Well done!

The website isn't perfect.  In my browser I can see the icon to zoom the map in, but not the icon to zoom it out, which would be kind of useful.  Still, that should be an easy kink to work out.

None of this makes MBL a perfect bus system.  The amount of time between buses leaves a lot to be desired on many routes and at many times.  I've never been a fan of the short line on Line 10 eastbound that ends in Pico Rivera instead of going all the way to Whittier.  Overall, the system serves "Greater Montebello" and connects to the Gold Line and Downtown LA but doesn't help you much if you're travelling in a north-south direction more than a few miles.  Still, at $1.10, it's cheaper than LA Metro's fares, and it runs on clean-ish-burning natural gas, so why not give it a try once in a while?  With Trump pulling out of the Paris Accord, we'll need all the climate solutions we can get.  Better transit websites make it that much easier to ditch the car, save money, and shrink your environmental footprint.

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