From the Makers of TrafficDito — looloo is now Available on the App Store!
Now Available on the App Store!
It’s time to discover all of Manila’s best places with looloo!
We hope you like it as much as we enjoyed building it.
MRTtrackr Puts Metro Manila Train Info in Your Pocket
With Metro Manila’s highways and roads as clogged up as they are, it’s no surprise that more than 1,000,000 people in Metro Manila choose to take our local train system instead. Seeing traffic along EDSA or Taft is reason enough for people to opt for the MRT or LRT.
Unfortunately, while traffic isn’t exactly an issue for the train lines, it’s the sheer volume of people that most closely mirrors it. Gitgitan between cars is a lot like the pushing and shoving that goes on in train cars, and frustration from hours on the road is replaced by the feeling of helplessness when faced with unexpected long lines and waiting times.
Local Train Info? There’s an App for that!
Local startup MRTTrackr hopes to make things a little easier for Metro Manila’s train-riding population with the introduction of their smartphone app. They’re on Beta for now and are only available for Android phone-owners, but the project has the potential to be a must-have companion for commuters. The app provides information such as train ETAs, crowd levels, as well as user-submitted reports.
Q&A with the Team
We got in touch with the team behind the project and thought we’d do a little Q&A with them:
1. First of all, a little introduction! Tell us about the team behind MRTtrackr. (Tell us weird stuff! Got any fun hobbies or interests aside from developing apps?)
About the team
Ryan leads the technical team of a mobile banking solution company here in the Philippines while Michie is a registered nurse who just lately shifted to the idea of developing apps with her group of friends.
Weirdest info about our team
Ryan said that we had met already before, 11 to 12 years ago, but I can’t remember. He said we’ve been good friends for quite some time daw pero I can’t really recall. So if that is real, then we are just long lost friends who met again last November 2011 during the App Congress by JR Yap, then we met again last April 2012 during some events, and then on Startup Weekend and then after a month or two, we started developing MRTtrackr together.
Ryan - stalking people hahaha
Michie - travelling, exploring, and learning new things. :D
2. We’re guessing that like TrafficDito, MRTtrackr really wanted to address people’s frustrations when it comes to commuting, traffic, and the general crowdedness of our roads and trains. Why did you guys decide on tackling our train systems in particular?
It all started with Ryan. MRTtrackr is a product of the Google Hackathon events here in the Phil. He joined the event and he decided to do an app for MRT. His reason was, “MRT is my primary mode of transportation. I’m just tired of all the stress created by the long queues just to get into the station, then another long queue just to get in the train, and the place being crowded every rush hour. If only I knew what to expect when I got there, it would probably lessen my stress or I can decide to choose another way to travel.”
Also, we believe that our Train System is the center of all the transportation system here in the Manila for commuters/travellers and it should be addressed first, before we address the buses, taxis and jeepneys.
3. Describe the best features of MRTtrackr and how they work.
There are five main features of the app:
- Find Train - Know the nearest stations and their status
- Ride Train - Set your itinerary and know what time you’ll be arriving at your destination
- Reports - View the latest reports and contribute essential reports about the different stations
- Info - know the important information about our mass rapid transit
- Leaderboard - For top contributors
Best feature: As of now, we can say it’s the Find Train. Because not only will it find the nearest train station for you, you can actually visualize how far you are from the station with the use of the map view. The map can guide you to go to that station. Plus, it will tell you when the next train is arriving, what the crowd level is and what are the important reports for that station.
Another cool feature is Ride Train. When you are riding the train, you can actually see that you’re moving on the map and you will have your own built-in itinerary right in your hand.
We will be adding one last feature before it is released to the public.
4. You’re on Beta right now, what have you guys learned so far? How are you guys reaching out to the local community to get the word out?
We have learned that it’s hard to develop on an Android phone because Android phones are so fragmented. Considering that we only have one phone, we don’t really know what to expect on the other android phones that are available in the market. Some phones may not have the expected functionality available for MRTtrackr.
Also, having one android phone to test our app for validation was really hard because we have to be in so many stations to view if our data is correct and time is a big factor.
It’s not easy to start something. There can be a lot of discouragement coming from different kinds of people and you can’t stop that from happening. If at the start, these are the reactions or comments that you’re getting, don’t be discouraged and just push with your idea.
Always put into mind that you don’t create something just for the money. You create something because you want to do it. If your main intention is just to earn big money from your apps, then in the long run, you’ll be discouraged if you’re not getting the right income from it. But if at the start, what you’re creating is what you love, no matter what the outcome is, you’ll be happy that you have accomplished it.
So Pinoy Indie Devs or Startups, do not be discouraged by all the crabs or trolls out there. The App Industry is open to any ideas you like, and no one is stopping you from creating and publishing what you want.
Ways to Reaching Out to the Community to Promote
We started a small campaign on Facebook and Twitter to inform people who are interested to try our app before we released it for OpenBeta. We are very thankful for people like you and for all who have featured us like Convergence, Bandila, ANCalert, The New Media (TNM), Interaksyon, Digitial Drinking & the Bobbery and many, many more.
We are also very thankful for all the bloggers who have blogged about us and people who have tweeted, liked our page and shared it with their friends, family and followers. We never really expected it.
5. How are things coming along with your future plans? (iOS app, government help, etc.)
Things are doing great in accordance to our future plans. We didn’t really expect that people would be willing to share their talents to help our goal to uplift our mass rapid transit.
An example would be Stream Engine Studios. We told them about what we are doing and if possible, if we can create a simple video to look for volunteers during rush hour. In the long run, this can help commuters find a more convenient way to travel compared to the what’s happening in reality. After hearing that, not only did they create an excellent video, they did it for free as a service to our countrymen. Diba super katuwa to find people like them who are willing to help without anything in return to uplift our country.
Also, communities such as Windows Dev courtesy of Christopher Misola and Blackberry Dev courtesy of John Bibal II are willing to help us convert MRTtrackr faster to the respective phones. So expect it to be in those phones soon. We will be the ones doing the iOS version and we are aiming to do a simple version for the Nokia Phones (J2ME OS).
We’re in the initial stage of discussions with LRT & MRT management. They are very happy to see that the public wants to help them improve our mass rapid transit. We’ll be talking soon to PNR, so we can tackle all the trains in the Philippines.
6. Just for fun, what’re your favorite apps?
Michie: Any app where you smack or tap a certain creature when it pops up hehehe :D
BONUS QUESTION: If MRTtrackr had a mascot, what would it be?
Happy Train or this character made by Stream Engine Studios :D
Again, the app is still on Beta mode and has a few kinks to work out. From our end, it’d be cool if reports were automatically tagged with dates and the stations they originated from. We’ve got our fingers crossed that their plans to work with local authorities work out too! As more beta users sign up, we hope that the team continues to build on its already promising foundation.
-EJ, Product Marketing Padawan
Umagang kay Daldal: Which Radio Talk Show Gets You Through Morning Traffic?
Ah, morning traffic in Metro Manila… the perfect complement to that first cup of coffee. Not.
It doesn’t matter how much of a “morning person” you are, traffic has made the simple task of getting your butt to school or work in the morning anything but fun. It’s probably not as bad as say, 3-Day Sale Friday traffic, but thinking about that extra hour of sleep you gave up just to get to work on time isn’t exactly the best way to start the day.
Of course, entertainment options for most of us are in short supply during our daily commute. With most people driving (no TV) or being prone to carsickness (no reading), most of us stick to good ol’ FM radio to keep our mornings even slightly bearable.
We all have our favorites. We at TrafficDito.com ask: which one’s yours? :)
Good Times with Mo (Magic 89.9)
Three words: Strip Geography Bee. Just the kind of thing the show show’s known for. With infamous DJ Mo Twister at the helm (who now hosts the show live from New York), “Good Times” is highlighted by his no-BS (and often hilarious) commentary on everything from sports, politics, showbiz, and all things sexy. Despite the show having a history of changing format and hosts over the years, Good Times’ popularity has gone nowhere but up and shows no signs of slowing down.
Of course, not everyone’s a fan. I’ve lost count of how many times the show’s found itself in hot water for taking their usual antics and gimmicks a bit too far. Their most recent suspension, widely publicized in media (people went crazy on Twitter!), was to some, extremely offensive. At the same time though, the fact that they have enough influence over listeners to cause such a stir is without a doubt, testament to their popularity (or notoriety, maybe?). Of course with tweets like this, can you really blame people for tuning in?
Warning: That picture she tweeted? NSFW.
The Wake Up Show (Mellow 94.7)
“SMILE! But don’t just say cheese… you gotta #BECHEEZ!” reads their official Facebook page. A lot more “toned-down” compared to their Magic counterparts, The Wake Up Show with Vince and Tracy is another widely-popular talk show for the morning crowd. Sticking a bit more to the “traditional” format of callers, contests, guests, and news, it’s the hosts’ energy that really sets them apart… hence the tagline!
The positivity and the crazy upbeat tone the show takes on is enough to make morning commutes seem much shorter than they really are. The chemistry between the two hosts on the show is a pretty good picker-upper for those days when getting out of bed seems like the last thing you want to do. While The Wake Up Show is the youngest among the shows featured here, led by Vince’s wit and Tracy’s, well… adorable-ness (and with a face to match! *swoon*), it’s shaping up to be a morning radio staple for many more years to come.
The Morning Rush (RX 93.1)
Chico and Delamar are practically radio LEGENDS. I remember listening to them from my grade school days and until this day, their loyal following of “Rushers” are what make the show as popular as ever. Multi-awarded (they recently bagged the 2012 Yahoo OMG Award for Best Radio Show) and well-loved, The Morning Rush is like a good wine — only getting better with age.
The radio royalty duo have kept their tried and tested “Top Ten” list feature for years — and it works. Why change what isn’t broken, after all? It’s gained such a cult following that they even released it in book form, making its way to the very top of National Bookstore and Powerbooks’ bestseller lists!
Now, with these shows on air, I guess Metro Manila’s morning traffic isn’t so bad after all! It sure beats the monotonous beeping and engine growls we’d be hearing otherwise.
So which one of ‘em gets YOU through morning traffic?
-EJ, Product Marketing Padawan
Why People are so MaZOOngit in Manila Traffic
While it may not have the glitz and glam of New York, I’d say Metro Manila fits the description of being a concrete jungle (where dreams are made, ohhhh!), don’t you think? I mean, given the unbelievable traffic, it sure is dense and humid enough. I always thought of the term as a metaphor, but now I’m beginning to think otherwise.
Driving through EDSA traffic or traversing C5 feels a lot like being in a herd of slow-moving cattle. People growl and scowl at traffic like animals in their cars (and even tweet about it, making ‘em pop up on TrafficDito.com!). Concrete jungle? ZOO is more like it.
Reptile Pits = Bus Dividers
Over the past few weeks, a new roadwork project along Commonwealth Ave. has been in the works. In what I’m assuming is an attempt to keep buses in their lanes, a concrete divider has been installed to keep the wheeled behemoths separate from everyone else.
Spot the difference. So much for humans being the superior species.
It seems that the reckless driving some of our bus drivers is bad enough to want to keep them isolated from everyone else with actual barriers.. Yep, much like the alligators, lions, and *insert dangerous animal name here* are kept away from people at zoos, apparently buses are just as dangerous.
Zoo Cages = Pink Fences
Of course, a zoo isn’t really a zoo without the usual fences and cages. Home to the rare species of traffic nuisances known in the scientific community as tamadakus hamanapus footbridgeus, Metro Manila’s traffic zoo is no exception. Despite the MMDA’s recent efforts to implement stricter jaywalking penalties, it doesn’t seem to be keep the common jaywalker at bay. The solution? Those bright pink fences we’ve grown to hate.
There is no logical justification for jaywalking. Unless it’s a matter of life and death (ironic, considering how many have been injured/killed while jaywalking), the only explanation is that people are just too damn lazy to walk to a pedestrian lane. Even with footbridges, people can’t be bothered enough to go up that extra flight of stairs. Yup, some even being the same people who shell out cash to use a gym’s stairmaster or treadmill.
We’d probably be offended if someone called us sloths. So why do we act like them?
Animal Trainers = The MMDA
We love to point fingers at the MMDA and the rest of the government for the flaws in the way our traffic is managed. Trust me, not a day has passed that a complaint didn’t somehow find itself on TrafficDito.com’s stream.
The truth is though, that these agencies can only do so much in terms of keeping us in line. Even zoo animals eventually learn the rules set by their trainers. Of course, at least zoo animals learn to listen. We however, at the top of the food chain in terms of development and intelligence, are too stubborn to follow rules when nobody’s looking (or throwing us treats).
All these walls and cages obviously aren’t working. Heck, if it didn’t work for Mali the elephant, what makes us think it’ll work for people?
-EJ, Product Marketing Padawan
TrafficDito App Makes its Showbiz Debut (LOL) on TV Patrol!
I almost wet my pants when I heard the news. Okay, not really, but finding out that the TrafficDito iPhone app was featured in last Sunday’s broadcast of TV Patrol was pretty cool! It got the rest of the team pretty pumped too. For lack of a better metaphor, we felt like the proud pageant mom seeing her baby’s on-stage debut. *sheds a tear*
Alongside Weatherbug and PDC World Disaster Alerts, TrafficDito was mentioned as one of the apps to download on your smartphone (iPhone, in our case) to prepare for the rainy season. With rain comes flooding, and with flooding comes crippling gridlocks on the road. Of course, that’s where TD comes in — giving you guys that oh-so-important heads up to keep you from ending up like good ol’ Chris Lao.
We managed to find a replay of the episode c/o the ABS-CBN TV Patrol website, or you can check out this super quick vidcap of the original:
A big thanks to the awesome Abe Olandres of Yugatech.com for the mention and Ms. Apples Jalandoni for covering the story. And of course, all the people who’ve helped spread the word about TrafficDito! We’re just happy to help out in any way we can. As of Monday morning, TrafficDito was number 7 on the Top Free Apps list on the App Store! With more people reporting, we only hope that TD becomes even more useful to motorists and commuters out there.
For even just a little while, TD beat out Google Chrome. Awwwyyeaah. LOL.
Again, big high fives to everyone for all the support! Hope you continue to send in your traffic reports, whether on the app, or using the #TrafficDito hashtag on Twitter! Don’t forget, each report still counts for a P5 donation from us to Tulong Dunong through The AralDito Project. :)
-EJ, Product Marketing Padawan
3 Awesome Inventions we REALLY Need Along the Flood-prone Streets of Metro Manila.
What seemed like a light downpour early this morning has turned into a relentless shower over the roads of Metro Manila. As the rain marathon extends beyond the late hours of the afternoon, early class and work suspensions seem to have been negated as the floods cause a creature worse than the Loch-Ness monster herself to rear its ugly head — heavy traffic.
Now, we’re obviously not the only ones fed up with all this. Some reports that pop up on TrafficDito.com during times like these… let’s just say we’d probably classify them as NSFW. And while a lot of us end up just whining about our sorry state, some people out there have actually done something about it! Okay, so they’re not exactly permanent solutions or anything, but hey, these things are pretty cool!
1. Flood-proof toilets
Hygiene and proper sanitation are always important issues brought up during the rainy season. Wading through floods is not just disgusting, it’s also bad for your health. In fact, even the smallest open wound exposed to floodwater is literally deadly.
Which is why a group of people in Thailand put their heads together to come up with these floating toilets. Specifically designed to keep floodwater cleaner for people forced to wade in knee-deep sewage and runoff, these things are pretty sweet. What I’m worried about though, is whether or not people ALREADY submerged from the waist down can hold it in until they get to one of these things.
2. Ziploc bags… for your cars.
Try to remember the look on people’s faces after watching Chris Lao’s car slowly submerge into the flood. I don’t know about you guys, but one of the first things that popped into my head was how much it’s going to cost to get that thing up and running again. That, plus the extra he’d have to shell out to get the smell of floodwater out. Blegh.
People spend tens of thousands of pesos for things like rust-proofing but who would’ve thought that an age-old technique for getting things waterproofed: wrap it in plastic. Even better? Some dude from the US had the “Flood Bag” patented. Genius.
3. Elevated Tricycles
It seems that Thai people are just so much better than us at preparing for floods. Aside from those floating toilets up there, check out these custom-built speed demons designed to keep you high and dry while cruising down flood-troubled parts of Bangkok:
Well they sure beat the Pedicabs we’ve got over here. I mean check out that one by the upper left! Is that a wheel ON TOP of another wheel? That’s some serious creativity and mechanical prowess right there. Wouldn’t it be awesome if our tricycles were amphibious?!
BONUS: A few more sort-of-useless but totally awesome inventions
Special shoutout to this blog dedicated to these crazy creations.
Too Cute. A doggie life vest!
Stools as Stilts = Stoolts. LOL.
DIY wakeboarding. Eat your heart out, CWC.
So aside from the misinformation of Chris Lao, what’s the weirdest/funniest thing you’ve seen along Metro Manila’s flooded streets?
-EJ, Product Marketing Padawan