Project #1: Neill's Subway Adventure, part 1 / by Ernie Gerardo

Meet my friend Neill, everyone.  He’s originally from the LA area, and is just getting used to using public transportation as a main method of getting around.  He enjoys french fries and gaming.

He was arrested for drawing frowny faces on his mug shot ID, incidentally.

In this exercise, we were first asked to conduct an interview with our project partners, and then write a paragraph based on our findings.  In this case, I am outlining Neill’s commute to work and school, and any problems he has getting to Brooklyn.  Here’s the finding:

To get to school every day, Neill takes the L train to 8th Avenue, then transfers to the A or C trains to Jay Street/Metrotech.  The whole commute takes him 25 to 30 minutes.  On Mondays and Tuesdays, he comes from work in Chelsea, which puts him at the 14th Street stop on the F train, which puts him in school at roughly the same time.  He has never experienced a delay due to train traffic, but he’s only lived here a month.  He uses Google Maps and the NYC Subway app to learn when trains are coming, as well as if there are any delays or service changes.  If he could, he would drive here, as he hates how sweaty the subway makes him.  By the same token, if it were economically feasible, he’d take a cab every day.

There are a few problems he has with the subway, mainly that he misses driving and not being a “sweaty mess” when he arrives at his destination.  His other problem is that he gets bored on the train.  Given that there’s not a whole lot I can do from a software standpoint about the hot mess problem he has (one day, I dream we will explore deodorizing technology sans-peripherals in mobile platforms), I’ve chosen to address the other problem.

New York is wonderful, in that we are slowly adding WiFi to our busiest subway stations, but you’re never sure where it’s in service.  My proposal for this project is an app that will map out subway stations where there is currently WiFi, and maybe even expand the scope to include stations where there is cell phone reception, although that might be a bit ambitious due to the myriad factors that affect reception (carrier, model of phone, station depth, etc).

Will this make it past the prototype stage?  Stay tuned, True Believers!  Wait, does Stan Lee own the copyright on that title?