King County’s media relations launched a full-court press to publicize the launch of their new Trip Planner app last week. Many people found it a surprising misallocation of resources given the underlying data problems. But how good is the app?

To this user of OneBusAway for his real-time data and Google Maps for his trip planning, the interface is (for the most part) pretty good, not noticeably better or worse than the alternatives. It adds some functions that don’t have a good mobile alternative. But the application is still hamstrung by a back end with deep technical flaws.

The Trip Planner App integrates four different functions: a trip planner (obviously), route schedules, real-time bus arrival, and Metro alerts. I’ll take them each in turn.