Saturday, June 4, 2011

SG Buses developer gets green light to use bus arrival times

Looks like there's a happy ending after all to the bus arrival times saga.

SBS Transit has given SG Buses developer Muh Hon Cheng permission to use its various APIs for a year. Hon Cheng has signed the contract and is waiting for SBS Transit to sign as well.

Hon Cheng says he's glad his apps have gotten approval but he feels SBS is being unnecessarily restrictive in wanting to evaluate each app before approval. "(I) still feel that they should open it up to everyone," he said via email. "Hopefully this is the first step."  He also recommends that developers who were rejected the first time should send in another request for a meeting.

Hon Cheng is not the only developer to have gotten permission to use SBS's APIs. iMerlion previously reported that Windows Phone 7 developer Adi had also gotten the green light. While we have not heard from other developers, we do know that at least one other app, ShowNearby, now has working bus arrival times, though we cannot confirm that this is because they have gotten approval from SBS.

According to Hon Cheng, he will be implementing SBS's APIs after Apple's World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) next week. The API pack will be ready for collection on Monday, but he will be at WWDC at the time. However, this delay will not be an issue for users of SG Buses and SG NextBus as these apps are now already working. This is because Hon Cheng had previously been able to get around the SBS Transit roadblock anyway.

We're glad to see that SBS Transit has seen the light and is now allowing developers access to their bus arrival times. Hopefully, more organisations in Singapore will take the same approach. By freeing the data, creative developers can build interesting apps that benefit the public at little or no cost to the organisation.

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