This page covers generic issues such as phone requirements and installation. If you are looking for information on specific function within the app, please check the "Online Help" page.

Q: What is RailBandit?

A: RailBandit is a mobile application that runs on your phone, handheld or PDA and displays schedule information on upcoming trains.

The best thing about this program may be that it's easy on your data plan! In fact, you can use RailBandit without any data plan at all, because it doesn't need to access the Internet each time you make a request. It is also very fast and easy to use. Finally, it is a powerful tool that can help you find the right train or connection when it's not obvious.

Getting Started

RailBandit is a commercial product. You must purchase the program by registering it before you start using it. For all platforms except iPhone, we offer a limited free trial, so that you could play with the application prior to purchasing it. In order to register, you will need to have your unique license number. This number is shown in a special screen within the application. So to get started:

  1. Make sure that RailBandit is compatible with your phone.
  2. Install the application to your phone.
  3. If you are using a BlackBerry phone, start the application and open the "Register" screen to see your license number.
    If you are using Android or iPhone, you get a registered copy by purchasing it from Androd Market or Apple iTunes store (there's no manual registration involved)
  4. Use this license number to register. You will receive your activation code.
  5. Enter the activation code to switch to "Registered" mode, with all features enabled.

Q: How does it work?

A: Once you install the application to your phone (handheld, PDA), it first will ask you to select which train lines you are going to use and download them from our server. This is a quick one-time operation: you will be asked to do this only when you run the application for the very first time. Once the schedule is downloaded and stored on your phone, you're ready to use the program.

If you're worried about the memory it will use to store the schedule, consider that one of the biggest timetables, NJ TRANSIT Northeast Corridor, takes up less than 50Kb (this is including weekend and holidays information, and including the Princeton, NJ branch). In comparison, a typical MP3 file uses about 3Mb (60 times more).

Bottom Line: this application, unlike many others, is using very little space on your phone.

Q: How can I find out if my phone can run RailBandit?

A: Railandit runs on all BlackBerry phones with OS 4.3 and up. It also runs on Android, iPhone and iPod Touch.

Q: What about schedule changes?

A: When a new schedule becomes available (this happens some time before it becomes effective) we prepare new schedule files and post them to our server. All supported versions - BlackBerry, Android and iOS - can be configured to check for schedule updates automatically once a day on application launch. If an update is available, the application will notify you.

When this information arrives, you can download new schedules to your phone using RailBandit, and they will be used starting from the date specified by the railroad. The old schedule is deleted automatically once it becomes outdated. If you don't have a data plan, you can download schedule updates via WiFi.

Q: What are the advantages of using this method over an "all-over-the-web" approach?

A: Cost, speed, reliability and ease of use. Train schedules don't change daily - it simply would be impractical. Why pay for downloading the same information over and over each time you need it, if you can store it locally and the size of this information is tiny by today's standards? Because no exchange is required between your phone and a server, RailBandit is far more reliable than web-based applications: no need to worry about your connection or whether the server is up and running. It's all in your hands. The search is much faster and the user interface is much simpler because no server is involved.

LIRR schedule on BlackBerry Adjust train connection times LIRR map on BlackBerry
LIRR schedules on BlackBerry.
You can see all stop times along the route, and adjust connection times exactly to your preference.

Q: How accurate is the information in RailBandit?

A: We use publicly available timetables to get the most current schedule information. The schedule data is checked and double-checked before it is posted online. We use software tools to retrieve the schedule data - virtually no manual entry is used - so the data is as good as the one posted by the railroads. However, errors are possible. If we find an error in our data, we update the schedule files and make them available as soon as possible. We encourage our users to report any inaccuracies they find - all errors will be promptly fixed.

Q: Does RailBandit consider weekends and holidays? Does it handle connections?

A: Yes, unless it is specifically noted, it does consider 100% of all weekend and holiday schedules. Currently, it handles up to two connections. Our testing showed that it did a better job in finding optimal connections than NJ TRANSIT online trip planner. For example: 1

Suppose you are traveling from New Brunswick to Newark Airport on a weekday morning. You must be at the airport by 7:00am. The NJ TRANSIT website advises you to take a train in New Brunswick at 5:35am, which arrives at Newark Airport at 6:09am. What if you missed this train by a few minutes? According to NJ TRANSIT, you must wait until 6:53am for the next train, and this one arrives at Newark Airport only at 7:31am - which means you might miss your flight. Our RailBandit has a solution: take a 5:50am train to Newark Penn Station, switch trains and then go one stop back to the Airport - you will arrive at 6:39am, almost one hour earlier than the direct train suggested by the NJ TRANSIT website!

This is just one of many examples when our scheduler gives better train directions than those available from the official websites. More importantly, of course, is that when you are at the station in a situation like this, most likely you won't have a website in front of you.

Metro North on BlackBerry Metro North Grand Central on BlackBerry
Metro North schedules on BlackBerry.
With RailBandit you can plan trips involving up to two connections, up to two weeks ahead.
1 In order to reproduce the results of this example in our application, make sure that inside the "Search Options" screen the "Minimize time" box is unchecked.

Q: How much does it cost?

A: We have different pricing options: 6 or 12 months subscription, and a non-subscription option for BlackBerry phones. If you plan stick with BlackBerry brand for more than a year, you're better off purchasing a non-subscription option. If you are not ready for this option, or plan to get iPhone or Android phone in less than one year, you can pay less and use 6 or 12-months subscription, to get started.

You also can extend your subscription for one month for each new user you refer. Please read about the referrals below.

Register RailBandit

Q: What if I get a new phone? Do I have to pay again?

A: No. You are allowed to use the program on one phone at a time, but you can get the program installed on a second phone free of charge during your subscription provided the new phone is from same manufacturer: BlackBerry to BlackBerry and so on. Use this link to transfer the license to a new phone.

Q: Why is RailBandit subscription based?

A: Because schedules are changing, and we continually make sure you have access to the current information. Extracting schedule information is often a time-consuming and difficult task that also must be done on a timely basis.

In our case, we stand behind our promise: if you paid for 6 months, you will get the 6 month of up-to-date schedules. And we will do everything we can to make you happy with the product and keep you as a subscriber.

Q: How do I extend my subscription by signing a new user?

A: When a new person that was referred by you registers, he/she should click "From another person" inside "How did you find about us?" section. A new line will pop up inside the registration form where this new user should enter either your full name or your license key (your license is shown inside the "About" screen within the application).

Your license key is completely safe to share (you can post it online on your site if you like). Please note that if your license key does not contain "(p)" at the end when program is registered, the person should use your full name, not the license key.

Q: How do I renew my subscription?

A: Very much the same way as when you registered - by using the license number shown in the Register/About screen and filling out the Registration form. A couple of weeks before your current registration expires, the application will start showing you a message about the expiring license. Your subscription will not expire until six months after the purchase. The warning is given simply as a reminder.

Q: Which lines are currently available?

A: For listing of all available schedules, click here.

Q: When will the train schedule for my area be available?

A: If you are interested in making RailBandit work with a train line in your area, please e-mail us. However, please note that outside the U.S. and Canada we cannot guarantee that all schedule changes will be updated on time.