I have spent my life as an early adopter of technology. It started young, when I appreciated tech for the sake of tech. Just controlling what appeared on a screen or printer seemed pretty magical. Maybe you heard the quote from a fellow named Adam Clark that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". Very true, and who doesn't love magic??
However, once the novelty wears off, it has to actually offer something of value to real life. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, when tech was quite immature (i.e. super frustrating), has set us "senior millennials" up to appreciate today's magical products so much. They finally work!
This brings me to Transit, which is easily in my top 5 apps of all time. This app so elegantly delivers value, it really is magical. If you live in a city, and ride public transit, this absolutely needs to be on your phone. It requires virtually no setup, and makes taking public transit so much easier. Truly one of those situations where you really would not want to go back to the old ways.
Why so enamored? Well, when I first installed it maybe 3 years ago, it was amazing then. It had Ottawa's routes, it knew where I was, and had many buses' GPS data to predict arrival time. Anyone riding the #2 knows that the posted schedule is just a gamble, and now I had real-time knowledge of when it was going to show up. The GPS was spotty at the time, but I understood. It was still a huge improvement.
Since they, they keep cranking out solid upgrades. Every so often, you open the app, and it's just better! (I'll talk about how much I love these low-friction upgrades another time...)
Enhancements between 2013 and late 2016:
Pretty much all transit GPS data, which I find exceptionally reliable
Route planning: Enter your route, and it maps the entire thing, and starting this fall it tells you (actually talks to you) when to leave, when to exit the bus, etc. Guides you the whole way.
Ride-sharing options included (e.g. Uber)
Bike sharing, where offered
Easily save your favourite destinations for 2-tap route planning (helpful when it's freezing out!)
Finally, it is gorgeous. I mention that because it's true, but also because aesthetics matter.
They guide the eye, they enable intuitive human interactions, which contribute to the overall success of the experience. It is this blend of a beautiful, very touch-friendly interface, with exceptional simplification and delivery of huge amounts of live and complex data.
And hey, it lets me have a few more minutes at the breakfast table before heading to the office, which improves my life just that little bit.
App links for iOS and Android are on their website.