Holy cow, I wrote a book!
I was recently tipped off to yet another Seattle bus tool:
One Bus Away,
which not only
provides real-time bus arrival information for every
stop in the Metro system, but does so in a variety of formats.
You can use the Web-based interface
(which is close to what you can already get from
the Tracker Location View),
but the real magic is that the information is also available
via SMS, Web-enabled handheld devices, and—most important to
me—any mobile phone.
I have One Bus Away on my speed dial, and I've set bookmarks
on the stops I use the most,
so I'm never more than a few taps of the phone away from knowing
exactly when my bus will arrive.
This is a fantastic anxiety-reliever when I arrive at my stop very
close to the posted time and am left wondering,
"Did I just miss the bus? Or is it running late?"
I had assumed that the Metro buses transmitted their locations to
the central computer with the assistance of GPS technology,
but in fact, it's much lower-tech:
They just transmit the current odometer reading.
Since buses travel along a fixed route, knowing the odometer
is enough to give you the bus location.
(Assuming the bus has not diverged from the official route...)
I used One Bus Away just this morning.
I was running a bit too tight on my morning schedule,
and as I hopped on my bicycle, I called One Bus Away to find
out how much time I had to get to my normal bus stop.
It was a bit too close for comfort, so I took a detour to a
different bus stop (a little further down the route to buy
me some more time) and caught the bus easily.