iPhone developers and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority:Happily ever after?

Until last fall  developers of transit-related iPhone applications that provided  up-to-date train, bus, and subway schedule and fare information to mobile devices were in a wrangle with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority over having to pay up to tap the agency’s data to design applications for hand-held devices.

Now developers are celebrating what they view as a dream come true after last week’s statements by MTA Chairman Jay Walder disavowing the agency’s former hard-line stance on schedule data ownership, opening the door to let  developers use reams of new data for free to give commuters better information.

Chris Schoenfeld, a Greenwich developer of a schedule application called StationStops for iPhone and the author of the blog stationstops.com, wrote a blow by blow piece about Walder’s comments to a group of app developers at a Wednesday night conference last week at Google’s Manhattan headquarters.

Last September, I-Tunes pulled the StationStops for iPhone application designed by Schoenfeld at the request of the MTA.

That dispute was settled in Schoenfeld’s favor within weeks, with the MTA abandoning efforts to collect licensing fees for the MTA data that Schoenfeld used.

Hopefully, all this openness and the public’s interest in nifty and convenience making new applications will converge.