How do I plan a trip in San Francisco?
Reset Rating: A- (13 out of 15)
Link: You might get stuck with this: http://www6.sfgov.org/index.aspx?page=19, but really, it’s this... http://tripplanner.transit.511.org/mtc/XSLT_TRIP_REQUEST2?language=en
Trying to get across town to Russian Hill or Downtown to the Mission, and you do not have the SF MUNI system memorized? Or you want to know if a MUNI line is down, again?
Answer: the online San Francisco MUNI trip planner.
This MUNI trip planner will give you the same information as the Google Maps public transit feature, particularly now that Google Maps offers real-time transit data rather than relying on (unreliable) published MUNI schedules. MUNI trip planner and Google Maps both provide a different service than NextMUNI, though. NextMUNI is not a transit trip planner service, but an arrival/departure service that relies on you already knowing the bus route you are taking.
So, the SF MUNI trip planner...
Accessibility: 2 out of 3
The “Trip Planner” link under the MUNI header on the SFgov.org Transportation page is broken...But if you go directly to the 511.org main page, the 511 trip planner service can be found on that main page on the left-hand side.
There are links at the very base of the 511.org homepage to translate the website into Chinese or Spanish (with a disclaimer noting the fallibility of the Google Translate software).
Ease of Use: 3 out of 3
From the 511.org website, the transit trip planner service is located on the front and center of the main page, incorporating information for most Bay Area transit systems, and after entering the relevant information, the trip planner will give you multiple MUNI route options where possible along with costs, etc.
Design: 3 of 3
The trip planner form is visually a little busy, i.e. too much text located in a relatively small space, but that’s a subjective readout. Generally, the pages do not shift in thematic appearance, and they present the relevant forms in a sensical format.
The Guide: 2.5 out of 3
The question mark located in the top right-hand corner of the “Plan a Trip” box provides meaningful explanations of each of the broad steps of the trip planner form.
If you still have questions, you have to call 511. You can also use the over-the-phone 511 trip planner to find your MUNI route.
User Feedback: 2.5 out of 3
At the base of the 511.org main page, there’s a “Contact info/Suggestions” link, and while it is slightly hidden, i.e. in very small type at the base of the page, it still links the user to a...feedback form!
While the feedback is not aggregated in a public space (transparency being a key Gov 2.0 tenet), the presence of the form is a step in the right direction.
Once you abandon the route through the SFgov.org main page, start at the 511.org main page, and look to the left of the page for the San Francisco MUNI Trip Planner: you’re there. Enter your start and finish location information, then click the yellow “Plan Trip” button, and your MUNI trip will be planned.
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