No, you can’t use your phone as a magic carpet to whisk you to and fro — not yet, anyhow. But you can use it to see CATA Bus & Trolley schedules. You can also get real-time transit directions from wherever you are (assuming you have the phone’s GPS feature turned on) and you can call 978-290-5875, follow instructions and get a text telling you when and where to get the next available bus closest to you. If you see tourists, be sure to tell them about this — and don’t forget to mention that they can park at Stage Fort Park for FREE and take the Trolley Shuttle to downtown, Rocky Neck and the beaches (see schedule here). Let’s keep their cars off our roads.
So, does CATA have a new app? Nope. It’s better than an app. It’s CATA’s new website built using Responsive Web Design (RWD for short).
Websites that use RWD automatically reconfigure their display depending on what device you’re using. One reason RWD websites are better than apps is that you can see the ENTIRE WEBSITE on your phone — and it’s optimized for your particular phone’s display based on how you’re holding the phone when you click on the website.
Here’s an example: The picture above shows what CATA’s new Routes & Schedules page looks like on an iPhone held portrait (taller than it is wide). Below is the same page on an iPad held portrait. Click here to see the same page on a computer (but only if you’re on a computer.)
The top third of this image is what you see on a Droid phone held landscape (sideways). And when you turn a smart-phone or tablet from portrait to landscape, the website’s design automatically adjusts to the new aspect ratio.
Again, the best thing about RWD is that regardless of the device you use, iPhone, Droid phone, iPad, any other tablet or any computer, you’re getting the complete website — all the info. And when schedules change, CATA only has to change them in one place and all devices will see the new info automatically. That’s why Google recommends developing smartphone-optimized websites using RWD (see their recommendations here.)