Our software updates too often and changes too much—how’s the latest iTunes working for you? But when Clever Commute upgraded its e-mail/text-based system for alerting NJ and NY commuters about train and bus delays with shiny new iOS and Android apps, it was enough to make any weary traveler give a little whoop of joy.
Clever Commute, which Montclair resident Josh Crandall started in 2006 to allow NJ Transit riders to crowdsource information about train delays and has steadily expanded to include LIRR, PATH, Metro North, and bus routes, launched its mobile apps earlier this year for one simple reason—well, really three, according to Crandall: “The audience wanted it, better/more consistent data quality for the users, and simpler/lower cost for me to operate.”
The app version of CC works more or less like the text-based version, with commuters posting updates about delays, accidents, track changes, and other maddening ephemera of a commuting life. But now, instead of filling up your inbox alongside notes from your boss and reminders about the kids’ schedules, everything is in the app. And with push notifications, more consistent message structure and a simple way to toggle between different train and bus routes, Clever Commute now fits in with the way you organize and access most info through your smartphone.
When I asked Crandall what sort of feedback he’d gotten from CC users who’d taken the app for a spin, he proudly pointed me to a page of enthusiastic testimonials that are best summed up by Patrick M: “Commuting is tough. Clever Commute makes it better.”
Crandall says he’s already working on the next iteration of the apps, which will allow users see the nickname/handle of the sender of a message and provide up/down-vote functions. He’s also aiming to fulfill requests for the ability to follow multiple routes at once and a way to set time-of-day and day-of-week controls on their alerts.
You can download the free Clever Commute app for iPhone/iPad here, and for Android here; CC also has a premium service called “Inside Track” that allows users to get more and better information for a fee.