This Is Our Stop app makes Vancouver bus stops (sort of) social

Transit riders: You know how you spend most of the commute staring at your smartphones? A new mobile web app, made in Vancouver, gives you another incentive not to talk to your fellow passengers.

That’s right. Why strike up a conversation with other TransLink commuters when you can load up This Is Our Stop?

Perfect for those painful waits at the bus stop, this app gives you something to do after you’ve texted the stop number to Next Bus to find out the upcoming departure times.

Actually, skip Next Bus and go straight to This Is Our Stop. Give the app your stop number, say 51232 for Commercial Drive at East Georgia Street, and the app displays the next scheduled bus times.

But the key feature is “Talk About This Stop”. You can post a short message—200 characters max—and indicate whether your comment is about the weather, a point of interest, a suggestion, or “just saying”. There’s no field for your name, so I suppose you’ll just to imagine which one of your fellow stop users left that note about you blowing your nose without a tissue. Disgusting.

This Is Our Stop, which launched today (April 26), is an open-source project of Denim & Steel Interactive and Sam Dal Monte, and was inspired by the research of Karen Quinn Fung. The app's makers call it an "experimental conversation space that connects people around bus stops across the region". I say bookmark it.

You can follow Stephen Hui on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Comments (16) Add New Comment
ursa minor
Why is every public experience expected to be social?

People have reasons for keeping to themselves. I don't consider people who don't want to engage in converstation as unfriendly, they're just keeping their natural boundaries.
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Todd Sieling
Thanks for writing up the launch, Stephen! If people leave a few comments a space for a nickname will unlock and be attached to their posts. It's another way we were playing with the established patterns of online identity, so we'll see how it goes.
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RF
@ursa - Well, apparently this app says that waiting at a bus stop is a social experience - but you're just being social remotely. No matter where you are, you're somewhere else. That's way cooler.
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VanCityStylist
Pulling out the mixed feelings here!
On one hand, this app is kinda cool, encouraging some conversation/interaction at a relatively uneventful daily experience.
On the other, why do we even need this app to speak to each other at close proximity? At bus stops, most people are receptive at small talk and the obvious (weather, Canucks, etc.) I say put away your battery-powered gadget and just try opening up a conversation. Not a big deal...not sure why everyone's so afraid to say something to each other.
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Adrian
This isn't a replacement for talking to someone in person. It has slightly longer endurance -- If you're at a bus stop alone, leave a message, someone else might come across it.
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EXRIDER
many BusRiders have no smartphone,
got an app for that ?
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Todd Sieling
@VanCityStylist People who use the same stop might not be there at the same time. The app gives them a way to connect.

@ursa There's no pressure to be social when you don't want to be, but for when one wants to be the app can provide an outlet that might not work person to person.

@Adrian Bingo.
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Social Rider 58327
@ EXRIDER Your mouth, your larynx, and your brain? That's three apps right there!
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I agree that physically speaking with a fellow bus-waiting-person is generally a good thing (but not about the weather or the dreadful Canucks...use your imagination!)...AND I also like the idea of ThisIsOurStop as it has the potential of making my day more interesting.

It *is* possible to use social media and actually speak with people face-to-face too. Using this app or the evil facebook etc. does not automatically void your non-internet communication skills.

The social aspect and novelty value of TIOS night even make for a good bus stop conversation opener and, who knows, that impromptu convo might lead to a hot date (or at least a hot coffee). You don't even have to be waiting for a bus to use the app - just plug in a bus stop number on your home or work computer and type a few words. It's simple fun and there's nothing wrong with that. (Try the bus stop # in my user name. It's a very busy stop and there's likely some action happening there.)

I'm surprised (not really) at the rather morose response TIOS has gotten in this thread so far. Vancouver can be a chilly place socially but whatever floats your boat I guess.

To the developers: Thanks for the neat app! Two things I've noticed: it's possible to repeatedly "thumb up" one's own posts, and there is a bit of a colour clash between the green and red thumb up/thumb down icons sharing their colours with the 'Just Saying' and 'Point of Interest' icons. Just saying. :-)
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Todd Sieling
@Social Rider Thanks for the comments! We've debated whether we should allow desktop/laptop browsers to use the app as its intention is really for mobile and to be at the place. We'll see how it pans out.

We're really glad to see you like the app and the ideas behind it. We should fix the repeated thumbs up/down thing, though it's funny to think of people goosing the numbers for no obvious benefit. As for the colours I'll pass the note along to the designer and see if he rolls it into an update at some point. Cheers
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Oscar
I hate it when I can see there are a dozen free seats and some jerk sits right next to me, WTF is up with that? I don't want your f'n cold and yah, I do like having some space when I can get it.
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Meh
This is for all those transit related "I saw you"s.
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Social Rider
@Todd Sieling Thanks for the reply. Not quite sure where you're going in the first paragraph. I used mobile Safari and created a standalone "app" but it can just as easily be accessed from a non-mobile platform using any standard web browser.

Visiting the site regularly form a desktop/laptop doesn't really make much sense but unless you create a true standalone iOS/Android app I think you'll have a difficult time making it mobile only.

Serious question - do you actually know how this thing works or are you just the PR guy? lol You're calling it an app, but you are aware it's actually just a website formatted for mobile browsers...right?
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Todd Sieling
@Social Rider
Regarding desktop access, we might block regular browsers from accessing the site at least for posting. User-agent detection isn't foolproof, but would urge use only from mobile devices, as we have no plans to support desktop in any meaningful way for now.

Serious answer: I'm the experience designer for the app, so yes I know how it works. Both Tylor and I, the only two people at the company Denim & Steel that made the app in collaboration with Sam Dal Monte, are handling press inquiries. TIOS isn't a startup or a separate company, so there's no 'PR guy' :)

A web application is an application is an app. Not in the iOS or Android sense or where one needs to get it from an app store, but web apps are more and more becoming first class citizens on mobile platforms, and that's the direction we're pushing in. In every technical sense of the term, TIOS and other web applications are apps, whether they're made for mobile or not.
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norah
Is there an app in the app store..?
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Todd Sieling
@norah There's no app store app. Just use your phone's web browser to visit the site.
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CR
Neato! I have a phone with a browser, but that isn't a smartphone, so I'll definitely be checking it out the next time I'm standing around, waiting, waiting, waiting for the bus to show up.
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