Need to Know, Weekly Featured Article

The Best Apps To Have As A Commuter

It certainly is no secret – commuting to school and/or work comes with its own set of unique problems and challenges.

Luckily, here at SCLD Media & Communications, we’re all about using technology to overcome challenges. And so, on that note, let me share with you a few apps that can (hopefully) improve your daily commute! If it’s marked with a star✬, it’s one of my favourites!

✬GO Transit Mobile

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Developer:  GO Transit & Ryerson University

Cost: Free

Available on: Blackberry, iPhone (+ iTouch & iPad), Android, Windows

For anyone who takes the GO Bus or Train to York, this is a simply fantastic app. It allows you to search upcoming bus and train schedules, as well as plan trips for later on. You can save your most frequently-used routes in your favourites for easy access. It also tracks bus locations in real time using location services, so you are able to see just how far away your bus is (and you can set an alarm for when it’s getting close)! A word of warning however – the real-time bus tracking can sometimes be unreliable with older buses!

✬Transit

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Developer:

Cost: Free

Available on: iPhone, Android

This is definitely one of my favourite apps, particularly because of how simple it is to use. Transit uses location services to allow you to see where the closest bus and subway stops are to your current location. It also tells you the different route options there are at each stop, and gives you real-time updates on when the next bus/train arrives! It also has a trip planning function, which can be extremely useful when you are in an unfamiliar area.

RocketMan

Developer:  RocketMan Inc

Cost: 
Free

Available on: Blackberry, iPhone (+ iTouch & iPad), Android

RocketMan, much like transit, shows bus and subway stops nearest you, as well as a list of all upcoming trains and busses at each stop. However,  RocketMan outperforms transit in one way – it displays important news updates and alerts  straight from the transit companies. If there is a TTC stoppage, you’ll know about it via RocketMan.

Waze

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Developer: Maplet

Cost: Free

Available on: iPhone, Android, Windows

I wish I had a whole post to talk about this app, since there are so many features to talk about. However, in a nutshell, Waze is described as a “free community-based traffic and navigation app.” You basically just type in your destination before you leave and keep the app open while driving and the app automatically sends traffic and other data to its servers. It keeps you updated (hands-free, of course) with traffic data, road closures, police traps, and much more in real-time. Once you’re stopped, you can also use the app to report incidents/irregularities on the road, such as fallen trees or telephone lines, accidents or collisions, and more. There really is just so much you can do with it, and it’s an awesome app for any commuter who drives to York.

Oh, and also the maps are extremely interactive and customizable, and use cool little cartoon dudes to mark important locations/locations to avoid.

✬MapMyRide

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Developer: MapMyFitness

Cost: Free

Available on: iPhone, Android, Blackberry*

*Limited support on Blackberry App

MapMyRide is an interesting app, because its primary function is for fitness. So, if you are someone who bikes to your bus stop or to school, you not only can use this app’s mapping and trip planning functions to find your way, but you can also keep track of your fitness along the way – a great addition to any rider’s app library.

✬Kindle

Kindle

Developer: Amazon

Cost: Free

Available on: All apple products (including Mac computers), Android, Windows

The Kindle app is not a transit-related app – but if you’re like me, you love using your time on the bus or subway to dive into a good book. The kindle app allows you to do just that, using the Amazon online store as your own personal library. Although books on the Amazon store do unfortunately cost money, they are usually cheaper than books at your local bookstore, and can be opened up on any one of your devices with the kindle app (as well as your kindle e-reader, if you have one). As well, there are many books – much like on iBooks – which are offered for free, and you can even load e-books and PDFs (yes, like for school readings and lecture notes) that you already own from your computer onto your device.

Metro

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Developer: Metro News

Cost: Free

Available on: iPhone, Android, Windows

This is another great reading app – however, rather than books, it features up-to-date news from Metro News.

Have your own app suggestions? Comment below, and let me know! 

Hey, that rhymes! :p

Au revoir! ‘Til next time!

~ Christopher Ford

Morgan and I all dressed up for Retro Day at SCLD! You can find Morgan on twitter @Wildly_Fit!

Morgan and I all dressed up for Retro Day at SCLD! You can find Morgan on twitter @Wildly_Fit!


UPDATE

Here’s an article for you to check out on the ACMAPS (Atkinson Centre for Mature and Part-time Students) blog – it mentions a couple more really useful apps for TTC commuters!

 

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Weekly Featured Article

How To Save When Travelling With GO Transit

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Are you a York student who is commuting to school via GO Transit?

Well, I am. Coming from Markham, GO Transit is one of the many methods I can use to get to school every day, and I love it because (a) it’s fast, (b) it’s reliable, and (c) it’s super comfortable!

GO fares, however, are more expensive than fares for some of the other transit options, like Viva, YRT, TTC, or Züm.

But not to worry – just because you are getting to York via GO does not mean you will break the bank every time you go to class! There are a number of ways to save money while still enjoying the many benefits of travelling via GO (and if you’re like me, you love saving a few bucks wherever possible)! 

If you’re looking to save, get a PRESTO Card. What is a PRESTO Card, you might be asking? To quote the GO Transit website,

“PRESTO is an electronic, reloadable fare card the makes commuting convenient. PRESTO makes it easy to pay your fare while travelling within and between transit systems by the simple tap of a card. The system calculates the fare of your trip and deducts it from the balance stored on your card – all in less than a second.”

Why should you use PRESTO?

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But how do you save using a PRESTO Card?

Simply, use it! Passengers travelling via GO automatically receive discounts just by using the PRESTO Card to pay their fare. Here is how much you can save off the adult fare as a result of the PRESTO’s built-in loyalty program:

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Still seems like a lot? I’ll let you in on a little secret – as a York University Student, you can save even more! If you apply for a GO Transit Student Identification Card and register your student status on your PRESTO Card, you can save a lot more! Here is how much you can save off the adult fare as a result of the PRESTO’s built-in Student loyalty program:

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Here is where you can apply for your GO Transit Student Identification Card – If you bring your PRESTO Card and your GO Transit Student Identification Card to Ink Blotz in York Lanes, a representative there can change your PRESTO Card to a student PRESTO Card. 

The best part is that you can use your PRESTO Card is not just for use on GO Transit! You can use it to connect with various other transit options, such as VIVA, YRT, Züm, and even some TTC Subways – many even offer similar discounts for using the PRESTO Card!

Still not sure whether you should travel with GO Transit? There are lots of other reasons, aside from the savings through having a PRESTO Card! Check back tomorrow for my “Reasons Why You Should Travel With GO Transit” Article!

~ Chris

Me, Workin' at the Booth!

Me, Workin’ at the Booth!

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