(Photo by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)
Gio Gatto used to work in corporate finance and he hated it.
He hated the routine, he hated the drudgery and he hated his commute from Arlington to Bethesda. Seventeen stops on the metro, he says, face clouding over even as he remembers now. In the two years he spent traversing those 17 stops, twice a day, five days a week he says he saw just about every issue a train, or metro system, can have.
So when Gatto quit his job and enrolled in a coding bootcamp at Iron Yard, he decided to to redirect his metro experiences towards his final project. The traze app, which is free, is the product of that experience.
If you’ve ever used the Twitter account @unsuckdcmetro to determine whether or not you should get on the Red Line, then traze will make sense to you. It’s an app that allows users to report the status of metro stations with a description of the problem and a picture. But while any Twitter feed is a cacophonous assortment of alerts and information, traze simplifies this by showing alerts by station and by line.
Isn’t he still sort of competing with Twitter, though? Gatto says he hopes traze will be a go-to for people, like himself, who aren’t big Twitter users. Also, he said, he’s looking into the possibility of pulling tweet-reports of metro malfunction into the app.
— traze (@trazeDC) February 10, 2016
The app is a constant work in progress, but giving commuters the tools they need to know what they’re getting into before they hit the platform is something Gatto is passionate about. He sees a future in which traze expands to other cities as well — including New York, San Francisco and Chicago.
Having recently graduated from his course at Iron Yard, Gatto says he’s freelancing and working on some new ideas while also applying for developer jobs. He’s nervous, he said, but excited about the work he’s doing. “It’s really satisfying to know that I can build something for someone else,” he said. “You know?” Plus, he finds coding way more dynamic than his corporate finance job. “Every day is an adventure.”
“I think this is it,” he said, face lighting up in a smile, “this is my job for life.”