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21 February 2009

Métro - Public Transport on Smartphone

Nice, but limited usefulness for Athens
Exit of the Metro station Megaro Mousikis in Athens

There is a clever "little" program for PDAs and smartphones that lets you orientate yourself in the public transport networks of many cities. It's called Métro and is available for free. You install the program and then install the databases for the cities you need it for. I've installed it on my phone (Nokia e71) and played around with it. Basically it tells you how to get from point A to point B in the maze of an unknown city's public transport net.

The program itself works fine, even though some of the user interface is a bit counter intuitive to what I got used to on this Symbian phone. The Athens Public Transport information is limited to the Metro/Treno lines, the tram, the "suburban railway" (προαστιακός) and the trolley lines. Missing are all the bus lines - which constitute probably 80-90% of the public transport network in Athens.

This limitation is probably due to the stated limitation of the Métro software, which on their site is given as "when a database contains more than 80 to 120 lines, trouble is looming". This is quite understandable, since many variations of the software have to run on limited hardware.

So, is the software still useful for visitors to Athens? If you're a tourist, probably yes. Most tourists are overwhelmed with the Athenian bus system anyway (ok, the "Métro" software could well change that with bus line info) and stick to the Metro and tram lines. In that case Métro might save you some studying of line diagrams and help you plan your tours to visit the tourist spots. Or it might help you reschedule your excursions on the spot when you feel like it. If on the other hand you want to explore Athens in depth, the ΟΑΣΑ site and pdf transport maps will be a better, but much more tiresome resource.


Posted by betabug at 13:17 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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Comments
Re: Métro - Public Transport on Smartphone

I see that the ΟΑΣΑ site includes timetables. Though they say 'comments are not available in English' which is intriguing. Do these comments say anything useful - like "Service suspended indefinitely"?

Cross-country bus company - ΚΤΕΛ - doesn't seem to publish any information about their timetables online. They only to provide a premium-rate phone line. In Greek. Very tourist-friendly! Being able to book tickets online would be useful, too...

Posted by: DaveRo at February 22,2009 16:14
Re: Métro - Public Transport on Smartphone

The comments are not a matter of life and death: The one I see with the trolley lines just informs you that in the morning and evening you might get a trolley that comes from / goes to the depot.

As for lamenting the fate of the KTEL site: Sorry, wrong blog. Kat has the ultimate post about the KTEL website situation and suitable information - I'm not going to make her concurrence here.

Posted by: betabug at February 22,2009 19:13
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