131500 site is the reason people are developing third-party apps

131500 site shows no buses for my stop

Back in early March I wrote to the NSW Transport Minister by email about Shittyrail threatening developers of third-party apps using Sydney timetable data. Late last month Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Penny Sharpe finally got around to responding, by post of course.

She spends much of the letter defending Railcorp, but apparently they've come to an agreement with some third-party developers with a standard license agreement. Hopefully the terms aren't ridiculous (I might register just to find out) and it's free, as it should be.

Anyway, she then goes on to say this:
The mobile.131500.com.au webpage is specifically designed for mobile phones. Passengers who have access to a mobile phone with a web browser can access timetable information. This service also provides breaking news and information about service changes and major events. With modern phones and the location features, the phone (and sites it talks to) knows where you are. Surely this would be an awesome thing! But don't expect the NSW government to provide it. They still supply timetables as if they were printed documents.

The problems with this site are many. You can't plan trips. You need to know Sydney and its transport system fairly well to get anything useful out of it, which is a common problem for tourists in Sydney: try working out where to wait for a bus to Marrickville in the CBD after the kiosk on York Street has closed. But there's far far worse than that.

The "breaking news" seems to be that the bus stop on Enmore Road near Addison Road hasn't had a bus for about a week. Brilliant site guys! Why would any third-party developer think there's an opportunity for improvement?