Metro Transit Google Personal Homepage Gagdet

If you ride the King County Metro at all you probably ride from the same stops a majority of the time. What is nice about our local bus system is that they provide up to the minute data on all of the buses in the system. This can tell you if your bus is coming early, late, or on time. So, if you use google.com/ig I have a little plug-in for you. To use it, do the following:

  1. Head to your google.com/ig page and click “Add Content”
  2. To the right of the search button, click “Add by URL”
  3. Enter in the following URL: http://lazyi.net/google/metro_bus_widget.xml
  4. Accept the URL
  5. Re-visit your google.com/ig home page and enter in your bus stop number

Hey, that’s great Ryan, but what’s my stop number? Ah, if you don’t know your stop number like I do, you can do the following:

  1. Head to http://tracker-loc.metrokc.gov/
  2. Search for your stop by bus number or whatever means works for you
  3. When you find your stop, look at the URL in your browser. You should see something like: http://tracker-loc.metrokc.gov/avl.jsp?id=114. Remember what the id value is (e.g. 114)
  4. In the plug-in settings put in that number and press “save”

Yes, the stop number thing isn’t ideal, but given the data that is available online, this is really the only option available to us.

Also, you can repeat the above steps to add this plug-in multiple times, since many bus riders have a starting and ending stop to pay attention to.

I’m sure revisions will be forthcoming, but right now I am basically screen scraping the Metro site so, that explains a lot of what you see in the plug-in. I might take the initiative to see if I can get the data in a different format, but I wouldn’t hold your breath on it. Also, I don’t think it’s working right in IE… but that’s an issue I can deal with for now.

So, there you have it, my first foray into google.com/ig plug-ins.

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