Software Development
Apps / Transportation

This Philly developer made an app to access SEPTA wait times more easily

In an effort to make his commute with kids easier and build his software development portfolio, Cory Popp developed the Next to Arrive app for SEPTA bus wait times.

Next to Arrive App. (Courtesy photo)

Have you ever spent what felt like a million years waiting for the bus to come?

While a solution for SEPTA‘s strange schedules and delays hasn’t yet been developed, an app made by a fellow Philadelphian might make your commute a little less painful.

Software developer Cory Popp is behind Next to Arrive, a simplistic mobile app that tells you how many minutes until your bus arrives. The app is also available as a widget, if you’d like that info broadcast clearly on your home screen. Next To Arrive is available for free in the Apple app store for all iPhone users.

Popp said he rides the bus every day with his kids and is always trying to get them out the door.

“This is just a fun thing that I wanted to do to very quickly to know for myself, how many minutes do we have until the next bus is scheduled to arrive,” he told Technical.ly. “And it’s also something that I constantly show to them — ‘oh, there’s only six minutes, we better get out the door.'”

Popp previously worked in video production for about a decade (you can check out some of his work), but about a year ago, he decided it was time for a change and started teaching himself software development. The framework of the app uses WidgetKit and is written in Swift. The app pulls real time information and public transportation schedules from SEPTA’s public API. It’s the same info that’s allowed for other SEPTA-related project, like technologist Doug Muth’s Is SEPTA Fucked?

“A big part of this was as a portfolio piece as I look for work,” Popp said. “Just something to show people, an example of the things that I can do and an excuse to teach myself a new skill.”

A phone screen.

The Next To Arrive widget. (Courtesy photo)

Right now, the app only covers bus lines and some trolley lines. When you download the app, you can select the transportation line you need and the stop you are getting on. Next To Arrive will display how many minutes until the next bus or trolley comes. iPhone users can set the app as a widget on their home screen to see, with just glance, how long until the next bus comes.

In the future, Popp said he would like to make it possible to select multiple stops so you can see the wait times for your bus to work and back home, for example.

“It’s not a fortune teller, it’s just going off of the schedule that they publish online so it’s not live information,” he said. “But if you’re wondering oh, when should I leave the house to get to the next bus? That’s a great use for that.”

Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
Companies: SEPTA

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