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SBS puts the brakes on 3rd-party apps

No automatic access to data on bus routes for these, other programs
Grace Chua
The Straits Times, May 25, 2011

COMMUTERS who rely on mobile-phone applications to tell them when their bus is arriving have run into a roadblock.

SBS Transit’s Iris (Intelligent Route Information System) now seems to have blocked third-party phone applications and other programs from automatically accessing data of all its bus routes – about 200 of them.

On SBS’ website and mobile site, users are required to type in a captcha – three random numbers – they see to ensure that the query is not generated by a computer.

This new requirement popped up about two weeks ago said users and has stalled most of the locally developed transport apps, upsetting commuters and developers.

More than 10 apps, including iSingeo and ShowNearby, used the data and had more than a million users.

Most of the apps are free and some cover their costs with advertisements.

SBS Transit released its own proprietary Iris app last month but it is currently available only for iPhones.