Sydney Transport Apps Now Tell You How Full Your Train Is Before It Arrives
You probably still won't get a seat, but it's a start.
It’s a momentous day, folks — there’s just been a slight improvement to the chaotic and overcrowded system that is Sydney trains. Transport apps like TripView and NextThere can now show you how full your train is before it arrives, helping direct you towards the carriages where you might have a marginally better chance of getting a seat.
Look, it’s nothing on actually running more empty trains during peak hour, but we’ll take what we can get.
— Ketan Joshi (@KetanJ0) May 15, 2018
You can see what the new feature looks like in the screenshot above — a little bar just below the map, which tells you if there are many seats available, and colour-codes each carriage accordingly. Carriages feature a small green bar if there’s lots of space, are coloured totally green if there’s a little space, then start to turn yellow, orange and red as they fill up.
The new system apparently uses the weight of the train to relay the information, and it’s actually fairly handy. See the below, for example, where there’s a big difference between the middle and end cars.
NextThere, meanwhile, has an even more detailed system, estimating numbers of available seats for you. They’ve written an explainer on how that works here, and it’s pretty interesting.
NextThere now includes live seat availability data for Waratah trains in Sydney – we're weighing each carriage in real-time and predicting the load at your station pic.twitter.com/iVDQlhRdt1
— NextThere (@NextThere) May 15, 2018
The new system only rolled out today, so there’s no telling how accurate those numbers are in real life — the system also only works on the newer Waratah trains, which means your mileage will vary depending on which train line you’re on.
Hooray for a slightly improved chance of getting a seat, though. Or at the very least, the ability to stand at the train station and predict your standing-only suffering ahead of time.