. Justin Kozuch | Toronto-based technology reporter covering startups, mobile and marketing

Mobile App Guide: Toronto Public Transit Apps

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With winter making an early appearance in Toronto (is it cold enough for you, citizen?), ensuring the time spent outside waiting for the bus or streetcar becomes a priority for most commuters. Unless you’re a diehard winter enthusiast like yours truly, huddling inside a transit shelter in sub-zero temperatures can sometimes feel like a test of one’s survival instincts.

However, there is hope. Mobile app developers have taken advantage of the city of Toronto’s open data initiatives and used it to help frozen commuters like yourself stay warm.

In no particular order, here are some of my favourite TTC mobile apps.

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App Review: Tab

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As we’ve seen with the launch of the iPhone 6, mobile payments have finally come to the iOS platform. Apple Pay, which uses NFC (Near Field Communication) to complete payments, until now has been a feature enjoyed solely by Android users, a point of contention that has caused Apple loyalists a great deal of frustration.

Of course, Apple is not the first to tap into the growing mobile payments market. Apps like Hailo, Giftagram, and Starbucks have been pushing the envelope of mobile payments long before the Cupertino juggernaut made its intentions publicly known.

These apps, like the many others that connect people to goods and services without the added requirement of carrying one’s wallet, have one feature in common: Convenience. Smartphone adoption in Canada is growing. A recent study found that nearly 55% of Canadians own a smartphone. It should come as no surprise that retailers are seeing the opportunity to get their brand into the hands of consumers – and as far as I can tell, it’s working.

Tab, a Toronto-based startup founded in 2014, has entered the mobile payments space by solving one common problem among restaurant patrons: the inevitable waiting that comes with asking for the bill.

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Meet A Toronto Startup: PUSH

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The sports world has birthed a myriad of innovations and inventions: Drinks to keep us hydrated and energized for longer. Meals to boost energy and provide quick bursts of performance. Prosthetics designed to allow those with handicaps to participate in Olympic events.

Over the past few years, technology played an important role helping athletes in their pursuit of physical prowess. Nike’s FuelBand takes everyday activities and turns them into a measurable sport by measuring the number of steps walked and calories burned.

PUSH has designed a wearable fitness device that measures strength. More specifically, it allows athletes to accurately measure statistics such as reps and sets, force, power, and speed.

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Meet A Toronto Startup: pd.id

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In a 2009 Canadian national survey, women reported 460,000 incidents of sexual assault in just one year. Only about 10% of all sexual assaults are reported to police. When it comes to sexual assault, women are frequently not believed, blamed for being assaulted, “or subjected to callous or insensitive treatment, when police fail to take evidence, or when their cases are dropped arbitrarily.” Only a handful of reported assaults ever result in a conviction: each year, only about 1,500 sexual assault offenders are actually convicted.

To put it plainly and without oversimplifying, these are alarming statistics.

David Wilson and Daniel Pirvuti are looking to prevent these incidents through the use of technology, and have recently joined forces to create pd.id.

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Meet A Toronto Startup: DownToJam

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Remember the days when bands used a “Wanted” poster for a drummer and tacked them up in a local bar or on a hydro pole? OK, maybe that’s a dated reference, but searching for a potential band member hasn’t really changed much over the years. The advent of classifieds sites such as Craigslist or Kijiji or enlisting the help of a guy who knows a guy has helped make that process a bit easier, but for the most part, the process is still just as time-consuming.

Enter DownToJam, an online community for musicians.

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