Transit Tracks makes it very easy to find stops near you, and doesn’t place restrictions on how many appear in the map.
I reviewed only the free versions. Updated October 19, 2011, to add a third transit tracker app.
||Chicago Transit Tracker Lite
||TreKing 4 Free
- Locates nearest bus stop
- Shows system alerts from CTA
- Shows current temperature
- Shows time of last update
- Locates ALL nearby bus stops using your GPS
- Has a more logical method to manually select bus stops and train stations
- Allows you to group favorite stops/stations
- Has better aesthetics – easier to read favorites listing
- User swipes the screen to show the opposite direction bus or train
- System map shows the familiar Google Maps and allows user to select nearby bus stops and train stations
- When no more service, reports “No running buses”
- Pro version offers Metra schedules and Pace bus predictions (I didn’t test this)
- Very logical method to select your bus stop or train station (this is called a “trek”)
- Lets you save a custom name for a specific stop or station (but gives predefined name)
- Allows you to group saved stops/stations
- Quick Treks feature locates nearby stops and stations
- Pro version has a trip planner (“Trek Planner”)
- Move, rename, or delete groups by holding your finger on the group (very easy)
- It appears you can set alerts in the pay version that tell you when to get off the bus/train, or when the bus/train is about to arrive
- In the pay version you can add time to the prediction so you’re less likely to miss a bus/train if it’s early
- Only displays a single nearby bus stop in free version using your GPS
- Shows ads in free version
- Favorites listing appears in a confusing way
- Shows ALL system alerts, and not ones relevant to my favorite routes
- System map loads a CTA website
- When no more service, reports “No arrival times”
- To add a favorite stop manually, text search function works in unexpected way
- To add a favorite stop manually, the choices are confusing. There are 4 choices for Addison-Blue, one for each possible terminus (Forest Park, Jefferson Park, O’Hare, UIC)
- Does not retrieve system alerts from CTA
- Does not show temperature
- Does not show time of last update
- Shows ads
- When you first select CTA Trains as the system you want to track, a huge list of confusing caveats shows up. I don’t think they’re all true.
- Method to select your trip route takes a lot of time
- Selecting a “To Stop”, which is optional, doesn’t change anything
- Shows ads
- Quick Trek feature in free version limited to 1/8th mile (one block)
- There isn’t a function you do without the app showing a popup to tell you about the pay version
- Map nearly useless in free version: it will only show bus stop with ID 1
- Map nearly useless in free version: it will only show bus route with route 1, Indiana/Hyde Park
- Map in free version doesn’t show bus location in real-time
- “Trek Planner” in free version only shows trip from your location to Sears Tower or Navy Pier – your choice!
On grouping: One group could be for the stops/stations you use to get to work and the other group could be for the return trip.
My recommendation: Transit Tracks. It’s very hard to review TreKing 4 Free because it seems most features are only available in the pay version.