Friday, January 19, 2007

The Orange Line has been found (updated 1/19) is reporting that the T's Trip Planner has been fixed.

By adamg on Fri, 01/19/2007 - 12:31pm
The T has fixed that Friday Orange Line trip-planner glitch on, so now, when you tell it you want to get from Oak Square to Forest Hills on a Friday, it sends you on a direct, 33-minute Orange Line ride instead of a hellish two-hour trek involving four bus lines.

Caveat: You have to type "Forest Hills Station" into the planner. If you just stupidly type "Forest Hills," you'll get back a list of lots of Foresty, Hilly possibilities in JP and then, when you select "Forest Hills station," the thing spits back a list of places in Stoneham.

An update on our report last week that the T's trip planner doesn't know the Orange Line exists on Friday. 5 days later it still hasn't been fixed.

Once again I asked it to plan a trip from the Central Sq subway stop in Cambridge to the Green Street Station in Jamaica Plain and once again it routed me by bus. The second choice borders on hysterical.

Itinerary 2 - Approx. 80 mins.

I figured after 2 full work days the problem would be corrected since it was well publicized on many blogs over the weekend. I stand corrected.

original post from Friday evening
got a note in the mailbag from John at concerning the T's new trip planner

Thought you might find this interesting if you haven't observed it
already. The MBTA trip planner is completely incapable of recognizing
the existence of the Orange Line if you plan a trip on Friday. Try
planning a trip from Oak Grove to Forest Hills today (or any future
Friday) and it takes 4 legs and 2 hours or more. I sent them an email
last week, but no response yet.
Thanks for the site,

Well that is weird so I tried it out with a "simple" request. I requested a trip next
Friday the 19th to go from the Central stop on the Red Line to the Green St stop on the Orange.

It sends you by bus

Itinerary 1 - -1376 mins.

How do you lose an entire subway line?


John said...

Actually, that wacky time (23 hours!) is being caused by an entirely separate glitch, where it can't correctly calculate trip times if they start before midnight and end after. If you set it to leave a little earlier, it still gives you the wrong route, but it correctly calculates the trip time as an hour.

I hate to complain too much about the new trip planner, because I really love the Google Maps integration, but this is pretty silly. And why Friday particularly?

J said...

Having some experience with software development his is a pretty reasonable problem. Since everything is based on a schedule there is probably a database table with a row for each stop, indicating the time. When they load the schedule for the Orange Line they probably forgot the Friday data. So the app works as expected but since the Friday schedule is missing, it tries to find another route.

I agree with John, the time is a completely separate defect.

The good news is with there data approach, it would be easy to reroute people looking for directions based on service outages. If the service is out, they just remove it as an option and the mapping application simply works.

It might also give rise to the ability to avoid certain bus/train routes, creating a customized route to your destination.

Ron Newman said...

Except that there shouldn't be any such thing as a "Friday schedule". T schedules for all weekdays are identical.

Anonymous said...

Google Maps integration on the bus schedule pages is useless, since the drop-down list of variations for a given route doesn't work properly. And the route variation names often don't make sense anyway, and sometimes two variations will have the same name.

There are also some blatant errors. For example, the Google map for Route 351 shows it stopping all the way through Lexington even though it hasn't gone that way since January 1st, and it shows it making local stops along the Route 2 service roads even though it never stopped there.

Mika said...

I've had the system generate these unusually long routes randomly and not just with regard to the orange line on Fridays. It usually works but I have certainly seen this bug.

Anonymous said...

The trip planner recently gave me layover times of about 45 minutes for a bus-to-train transfer at Alewife, for a time of day when trains run about every 5 minutes.

Anonymous said...

If you dont include the word "station", it will include all kinds of places that aren't subway stations, even if you choose the Subway Station radio button.