We’re happy to announce the availability of a new iPhone app based entirely on Rome2rio’s search technology and developed specifically for iPhone users. The Melbourne Transport Search app is free and is already proving popular with iPhone users: we had over 500 downloads this last weekend alone.
Screenshots from our Melbourne Transport App,
including the easy link over from Apple Maps.
Unlike the standard Rome2rio app (already available via the iTunes store) the Melbourne app only allows searches within the Melbourne metropolitan area. It returns results that may include train, tram, bus, walking and driving options, depending on the search.
You may recall the brouhaha that surrounded Apple’s launch of its own Maps app for the iPhone: keen to displace Google, they rushed a not-quite-ready-for-primetime product to market, only to experience first-hand what it’s like when your users think you have screwed up. Amid lots of speculation along the lines of “Steve Jobs would never had let this happen” Apple moved quickly to repair the damage, and their Maps app has been improving steadily since its launch.
One of the great decisions Apple has made relates to users who are seeking transit directions, in other words “How can I use public transport to get from A to B?” The Apple strategy is to direct users from their map results pages to specialist apps in the iTunes store; once you’ve selected and loaded an app there is a quicklink available within Apple Maps so you can quickly go from one app to the other.
This screenshot from Apple Maps on my phone shows how easy it is to get from Apple Maps over to our Melbourne app. This virtual promotion by Apple is obviously helping our app get traction, and if downloads continue at this rate we’ll roll out some new destinations over the coming weeks. Cities with high populations and complex public transport networks are high on our list, and we’ll likely target some European and US cities along with Sydney Australia.
We’re keen to get feedback on this direction for our product and look forward to any comments you may have. Of course if you love it right away, go ahead and rate the app in the iTunes store.