Saturday, March 9, 2013

Bottom line: HopStop is a sweet resource for navigating public transportation options on your interviews.
EDIT: I should also mention that many of these public transportation features are also available with Google Maps, either on the web or on Android devices, and hopefully a new iOS app soon (but not yet). I wanted to highlight HopStop as a great alternative and a company that specializes in making public transporation as accessible as possible. --n8henrie Fri Nov 16 09:05:21 MST 2012
Hi everyone,
By now, I think everyone knows what a big fan I am of TripIt, which keeps track of my flights, hotels, and more, just by forwarding to them my receipt / confirmation emails. This week I got to test-run another app that I've been wanting to try out: HopStop [].
I hope to write a more in-depth review later, but I bet we have classmates that might be missing the opportunity to use it now, so I think a quick, short intro will have to do.
Basically, HopStop indexes public transportation for a good variety of major cities (it even has Albuquerque!) and gives you numerous options for getting from point A to point B, including the approximate time necessary for each.
For example, I was just in Chicago, and I waited too long to buy my hotel (whups). The price jumped from $100s to $300s per night for the recommended hotel. Instead, I found a decent place a bit farther away for less than $70 per night. Before booking, I went to to check the masstrans options... and sure enough, it listed a bunch of options with varying amounts of walking, buses, and metro (see the screenshot). It seemed like plenty of options, so I felt comfortable getting the much cheaper hotel.

It ended up working out great. I got a all-day pass for $5.75 right at the hotel, rode the bus to my interview, took a mixed bus / metro route back to the hotel, then took the metro to the social event and back. My net savings over the 2 nights was close to $500 (compared to the increased hotel price, still $120 under the original discounted price for interviewees).
A couple neat features that I think are worth mentioning:
  1. You can "save" routes for offline, in case you will be without internet access (e.g. subway, or if you're using an iPod Touch).
  2. You can specify a delayed departure time to see how long it will take if you're leaving the next morning / evening / etc., since the routes and departures change depending on the time of day.
  3. It includes the next few departures for each bus / metro, so if you miss one, you'll know when to expect the next (or perhaps you might choose a different route if you're cutting it close and the next one doesn't come for a long time).
  4. You can "reverse" your route to easily find your way back.
  5. The website can make a "link" for quick access to a map in a browser, as well as native clients for iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone
One setting I wish I would have discovered sooner on the iPhone: on arrival, change your default city in the settings so you don't have to scroll down to pick the city of every address.
I've got to run, but if any of you have any questions or experiences with HopStop, leave them in the comments section below. Hope you find it helpful!


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