Software Development
Apps / Software / Transportation

Now Siri can tell you just how badly SEPTA is f*cked today

Surprisingly, the voice of iOS already knew how to curse, creator Doug Muth said.

"Is SEPTA Fucked?" iOS Shortcut in action. (Screenshot by Paige Gross)

If you’ve ever been stuck waiting, frustrated, for your train or bus to arrive in and around Philadelphia, you might be familiar with Doug Muth’s site, Is SEPTA Fucked?

SEPTA, one of Philadelphians’ most love-to-hate institutions, has an official Twitter account to deal with passenger complaints, questions or timing issues. But sometimes, you need the bigger picture.

Muth’s site, which assesses the current status of buses, trolleys, subways and regional rails in the area, will give you an answer ranging from Not Fucked (running pretty much on time) to Turbo Fucked (you may never, ever get home). The software engineer who lives in Ardmore and works in Center City built the site about seven years ago with Node.js running the Express Webserver on Heroku.

Just how fucked is SEPTA right now? Thanks to some iOS tinkering, Siri can now fill you in.

Late in 2019, fellow engineer Colin Weir reached out to Muth with a proof of concept of an iOS a Shortcut and one of the API endpoints that would allow Siri to read the current status of the Is SEPTA Fucked? site.

“I had never actually used a Shortcut in IOS before, so I started to dig into how shortcuts work and what else I could do with them,” Muth told “I ended up rolling out a couple of new API endpoints and basing the shortcuts around them.”

The Shortcuts app in iOS settings. (Screenshot)

Before you can enable the shortcut, you must configure your iOS to “Allow Untrusted Shortcuts.” This can be done in your iPhone’s settings under the Shortcuts app. Muth fully explained how to enable the shortcut in your iOS settings in a recent blog post.

“If you don’t see the setting mentioned in step two [of the blog post], you will need to open the Shortcuts app, run at least one shortcut, and come back to that screen,” Muth wrote. “If you need further help allowing Untrusted Shortcuts, this writeup is more thorough and includes screenshots.”

Now, a quick inquiry with Siri will tell you just how fucked your ride will be.

“A little fucked!” (Screenshot)

“Surprisingly, I did not have to do anything special to make Siri swear,” Muth said. “My guess would be that Apple allows that in user-generated content on their own device. I do find it amusing however, that whoever does the voice of Siri had to sit in a sound booth and utter f-bombs in a complete monotone.”

So, if you have been waiting for forever for your bus/train/trolley to arrive on your commute home, this reporter can guarantee that hearing Siri explicitly fill you in on the situation will make it slightly more bearable.

Companies: SEPTA

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