Hope you remember Bus Uncle, our favorite Singaporean-flavored messenger bot designed to update you with your next bus timings — in the most uncle way ever.
For curiosity’s sake, we went digging around to uncover what makes Bus Uncle the way it is. Enter Abhilash Murthy, its creator who kindly explained the origins of the messenger bot.
So why create Bus Uncle?
The TL;DR answer: To get bus timings in the quickest, simplest way possible.
On blogging platform Medium, Murthy said that the idea came to him late September 2016, when he was at a bus stop along Orchard Road. While waiting and hoping for the next bus to be service number 65, he thought to himself:
“I wish I could just ask someone how long I have to wait.”
While he noted that there was an information board detailing the buses and their arrival times, there was just too much information. Furthermore, the size of the board was too small to handle the wall of data and had to regularly refresh its screen to show the next list of buses.
As for the various bus timing apps that he regularly used, he felt that there was too much tapping and swiping involved to obtain the information he wanted. It was a lot of (relatively small) trouble to find out the arrival time for one lone bus.
It was then he remembered that Facebook had released the Messenger Bots platform, so he set out to try his hand at building one. His bus arrival timing bot was created with just one focus: to tell the bus arrival time.
Needless to say, he’s been rather successful, since more than 300 Facebook users have rated the bot 4.9/5 stars on his page.
And boy, does he post regular updates in good old Singlish: