An oddity with NextBus short stop titles

The NextBus public API supports “short titles” for routes and stops, which are designed to be formatted for display on mobile devices, and other environments where space is at a premium. Stop and route definitions in the XML returned by the API both contain a title attribute with the full title, and a shortTitle attribute with the short title, if one exists. Unfortunately, there seems to be a bug in the output returned by NextBus which limits the usefulness of this feature.

Here’s an example stop definition (from the routeConfig call), for the DC Circulator:

<stop tag="masscolu"
title="Mass Ave And Columbus Circle"
lat="38.8963969" lon="-77.0051865"/>

No shortTitle attribute, so there’s no short title, right? Wrong.

Here’s what we get when we request predictions for that stop:

<predictions agencyTitle="DC Circulator"
routeTitle="Union Station-Navy Yard via Capitol Hill "
routeTag="blue"
stopTitle="Mass Ave And Columbus Circle"
stopTag="masscolu"
dirTitleBecauseNoPredictions="Southbound">

This is precisely as expected. But suppose we add useShortTitles=true to the query?

<predictions agencyTitle="DC Circulator"
routeTitle="Capitol Hill"
routeTag="blue"
stopTitle="Mass & Columbus Circle"
stopTag="masscolu"
dirTitleBecauseNoPredictions="Southbound">

Now there’s a short title for the stop! That’s not how it’s supposed to work!

I haven’t investigated this issue very throughly; while I know it exists with the DC Circulator data, I’m not sure if it’s also a problem for other NextBus agencies. Of course, there’s a simple workaround: to get short titles for stops, after calling routeConfig to get the stops, get predictions for each stop with useShortTitles=true set, in order to get the stop’s short title. But that’s a silly, time-consuming workaround, and it really shouldn’t be necessary.

2 thoughts on “An oddity with NextBus short stop titles”

    1. Thanks! I appreciate the quick response, and I’ll be sure to subscribe to the mailing list, so I can stay up-to-date.

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