Opinion: AsUBus app needs improvement

Lizzie McCreary

Anne Buie

Lizzie McCrearyRecently, the AsUBus iOS app was launched. It’s already grossed over 500 downloads on iTunes.

I definitely appreciate the strides sophomore Brian Clee made when he created this app and respect the amount of time put in, but I am not as enamored as my peers.

Maybe I’m bitter because I wasn’t able to launch my own iPhone app for the AppalCART that I had already designed but not coded.

But in reality, I think Clee could have done so much more.

The design itself is basic and to the point, and has no unique design element. I would have expected to see unique interfaces and different fonts. Instead, the app consists of basic buttons and fancier maps I can already see on the website.

The information was already on the website. It is now just in a new format, easier to access in a hurry.
But the times are wrong anyway – the bus is rarely on time.

I like the information being in a central location – but I would have wanted to see enhanced features on this app.

Adding a global positioning system on the app would have been expensive – I get it.

But there are cheaper options – crowdsourcing being the main one. Using a “check in” system, where users would just press a button on the screen saying they were getting on or off a certain bus, would create a better sense of the location of the bus.

But would people actually use this system? I believe they would.

If they were already looking at the app, it would take them an extra second to press a “check in” button. Some might check in solely for the benefit of all others waiting for the same route.

I believe AppalCART would greatly benefit from an enhanced version of this app. They would receive fewer angry phone calls from upset students and town residents wondering when the bus will arrive at their stop.

Furthermore, a messaging forum for the busses would have been beneficial. It would have allowed people to send out notifications of if the bus was running late, or if a sketchy person was on the bus.

People using the app would also be able to post a comment on a route’s forum about a lost backpack, class project or Nalgene.

This app was a move to get Boone out of the stone age electronically, however it appeared to be met with resistance from staff members of the AppalCART.

Finance Officer for AppalCART Michael Norwood said “no decision has been made” to join with app.
Clee said he was told by an AppalCART employee, they were not willing to fund the GPS for the app.

Why not?

I’ve listed my hesitations with the app, but I also believe with the proper budget, this app could be so much more.

With finances provided by the AppalCART, Clee could expand upon his app.

But since those funds don’t seem to be coming his way anytime soon, Clee could charge the basic 99 cents to help fund the GPS for the busses. He might also be able to start a collection from friends and family to help subsidize the cost of the app.

I believe this app is a starting point for a tool that could be used for future Appalachian students, and it’s a shame finances might be what stands in its way.

McCreary, a sophomore graphic design major from Huntersville, is the graphics editor.