In the last few months, I've noticed an annoying thing about my bus arrival app. Information was flaky and unreliable. Sometimes the app would say that the bus is coming in 3 minutes, when in reality, the bus had already come and gone. OR, it says the bus will come in a whopping 20 minutes, and the bus comes within the minute. Sometimes the info will declare that the bus was not in service anymore… at 9pm.
It didn't use to be this bad. There were moments of inaccuracy in the past but not with this level of frequency.
At first I got angry at the app, like many users, judging from the App Store reviews. Many blamed the app maker and said the latest app update broke their bus info accuracy. But then I thought, this cannot be the app's fault because the behavior was consistent across different apps.
Then I thought, this must be SBS Transit's fault because it is their server giving wrong info. But then I realized that my app was now using the new LTA enhanced real-time bus arrival backend, not the one by SBS Transit.
I looked at the date of the rollout and it was April 2015, which was around the time the info became unreliable. You can tell your app is using the LTA backend because there is now seat availability info.
Look, I think seat availability is a nice little feature but really, if you have to take the bus, you have to take the bus, whether there are seats available or there is standing room only. What is more important is that the bus arrival info is accurate, which it isn't at the moment.
I don't care if you slap an Enhanced or Centralized on your new backend. If the information is shit, the information is shit, whether it is enhanced or centralized or not.
So if it is truly the LTA backend causing this grief, either fix it, or give us back to servers and backend that used to belong to the individual bus companies. Ok, maybe don't give us back the SMRT servers. They were pretty shit too.
End of rant. I have to go. My bus app tells me my bus is coming in 30 minutes. Or thereabouts.