We tried MoveMAD, a public transport app for Madrid unlike anything you have ever seen

Even though the App Store is on its way to turning 12, there are certain types of apps that don’t move from their site. This is the case of the public transport apps . Apart from the consolidated and multi-functional apps such as Citymapper, the rest of the apps are usually not up to scratch.

In the last few weeks I’ve been trying MoveMAD. It is a utility to know which bus stops you have around you, as well as the waiting time. That said, its function is no different from the dozens that will be around. However, what makes it different from the rest of the public transport apps is not the what, but the how .

Moving around Madrid with MoveMAD

We tried MoveMAD, a public transport app for Madrid unlike anything you have ever seen
We tried MoveMAD, a public transport app for Madrid unlike anything you have ever seen

As soon as you launch the app for the first time, you realize that you are looking at something different . The utilities I’ve tried so far have been characterized by three things: a home screen where you have to enter the stop number, the existence of advertising and its slowness.

MoveMAD remedies all of these weaknesses in a very convincing way. When opening it, the user is confronted with a modern app, which embraces the dark mode . The map that occupies the entire background of the screen. We can move around it as much as we want, zooming in or out to get closer.

By default, it will open with our location in the center, but we can move the view in any direction. Here we have to say that uses the maps of Apple Maps , which in Madrid have had the metro and bus stops for some time.

By scrolling or zooming , new bus stops will appear and others will disappear. When you click on one of these red pins, the bus stop number will appear on the only “box” that the app displays. To know the lines that go through that stop as well as the waiting time for the next bus, just press the blue button.

Here we will see all the buses on the way and their times, as well as the number of the stop and the possibility of marking it as a favourite. When we do so, it will be saved in a list of favorite stops where we’ll also find the history of queries we’ve made.

In all this time, I find the way MoveMAD works very useful. The map allows you to look for the stop you need without having to know the stop number in advance, as it happens in other basic apps. Moreover, the map is fluid and shows only the most important information.

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But what stands out most of all is its speed. The app is tremendously fast in every respect. Something essential in the experience of this type of app.

Having said that, I do miss two things: being able to name my favorite stops and having a button that clears the keyboard that displays when looking for a stop. Small improvements that we will probably see in the future.

We interviewed Adolfo Vera, the developer behind MoveMAD

MoveMAD en la App Store, gratuita.

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We had the opportunity to do a brief interview with Adolfo Vera, the developer behind MoveMAD. Adolfo has told us more details about his app, its origin and its immediate future.

Eduardo Archanco: Why did you decide to make an app like MoveMAD?

Adolfo Vera: Well, the app comes from far away, from 2016 when I introduced myself to a hacker from the EMT’s Mobility Labs and the app, which at that time was called Mad@Bus, came in second place. A few months ago EMT updated the API, and this, along with the output of SwiftUI and Combine (the new Apple frameworks) gave me the idea to remodel from top to bottom and especially by inside the app.

EA: MoveMAD has a map as a central element, while other apps use a stop search engine. What made you decide on this?

AV: Precisely because of what you said, all apps work with a text field for you to enter the stop number, so I decided that if I redesigned MoveMAD it had to be different from the others. And also for offering speed to the user. In a single view you can select a stop near you or write the code of the one you are in.

EA: In general, the public transport apps I have tried are quite rudimentary. MoveMAD, on the other hand, is fluid, intuitive and fast. What is behind the app to make it so different from the others?

Winners of the hackathon, with Adolfo Vera on the left of the photo. Credit: Telemadrid.

AV: Most of the credit for this goes to Apple’s engineers. The app uses 100% SwiftUI for the visual part and to extract the data from the EMT it uses Combine, which has turned out to be two real cucumbers , it’s amazing how much time they save writing the user interface (SwiftUI) and how fast they can ETL the data (Combine).

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EA: Again, while all other apps of this type rely on advertising to finance their activity, your app is free and without it. Do you plan to add any paid features or advertising?

AV: No, the truth is that I don’t think so, firstly because it is data from a public service offered by a public entity, the EMT, which does not charge developers a single euro to operate its platform. I don’t mean by this that apps that do offer advertising are bad at all, only that I prefer not to do it. Finally, for an aesthetic reason: it doesn’t look good.

EA: And finally, a couple of questions about new features. Will you be adding other means of transport in the future (metro, BiciMad, carsharing, etc.)? Will we see more cities added?

AV: The next version will come with the BiciMAD data and after that another version with the EMT parking data. Other cities? Why not. Besides a future version for watchOS.

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