Technology is making transport a lot easier today. When I lived in Baulkham Hills, the local bus would come once or twice per hour. Missing it, and having to wait 30 or 60 minutes, was bad enough. But worse was not knowing if you had missed it or if it was just running late.
Earlier this year Sydney Buses introduced their SMS service, where you send them a text message with the bus stop number and then get a response that tells you all the buses that will be stopping there in the next half hour, along with an expected arrival time. Importantly, thanks to GPS technology, this arrival time is the actual time rather than the timetabled time.
Whenever Google can get its hands on real time transport information, it incorporates it into the directions function of Google Maps and is called Google Transit. It does exist in Sydney, but only for the Light Rail and Monorail, thus making it almost useless. Luckily, the 131500.info service is generally quite good, and though it’s not quite as user friendly as Google Transit, it’s good enough.
Ideally we would have everything graphically displayed on a map, with real time information on where all the buses are, where they are going and how long they will take to get there (as discussed by Jarrett Walker over at his Human Transit blog). That looks something like this: