In praise of government: MARTA + iPhone = awesome

iPhones are the chocolate to MARTA’s peanut butter.

It’s tax day and, since I’m contrarian, I’m going to spend the day praising government.

I’ll start with public transit.

I’ve had it for a while, but only recently have I started using my iPhone’s built-in, Google-powered public transit map. It’s fantastic.

Type-in starting and ending addresses and the iPhone gives you a MARTA rail and bus route to your destination, as well as the duration of the trip.

If you’re standing at a bus stop, the map will tell you when the next bus is scheduled to pass-by. If you’re not sure when you’re going to be able to start your trip, a very handy button allows you to scroll through every potential departure times.

MARTA’s web site does the same thing, but when I’m stuck at auto repair shop in Roswell (like I was on Monday), or if I’m lying in a gutter somewhere and get tired of staring at the stars, I won’t necessarily have an Internet-connected laptop on which I can access MARTA’s web site for route information.

If all this sounds like praise for Apple and Google rather than MARTA, consider this: D.C.’s otherwise awesome public transit system refused for months to let Google have its route maps in a digestible form. As a result, iPhone and Google Maps users in DC were denied this function.

Praise be to MARTA for helping make their system easier to use.