Google Launches Google Transit

September 23rd, 2008 at 12:00 am

google transit maps commute public transportation bus train ferry

google maps

Google Maps is getting better and better with lots of additions to the simple mapping service it once started at.  Today, amidst the T-Mobile press conference in New York City, across town the Google boys were at another launching of a Google product.  The launching of the Google Transit was actually the reason why Larry Page and Sergey Brin were late to the launch of the first Android powered phone.

But enough about the G1.  Google Transit is a new feature on Google maps which allows users to access public transit information for select cities.  Of course Google’s target is to have the service up for every city in the world.  But for starters they went with the busiest city, New York.

"We (Google) have added comprehensive transit info for the entire New York metro region, encompassing subway, commuter rail, bus and ferry services from the Metropolitan Transit Agency (MTA), the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New Jersey Transit and the City of New York. That means this information is now at the fingertips of the more than 20 million people who live in and around New York (not to mention the millions of people who visit the region every year). The MTA is the largest transportation agency in the U.S., serving one in every three users of mass transit in the country." [Google Official Blog]

This latest addition to the Google Maps feature set is probably the most important since putting street names on top of the maps.  Public transportation is still the way most people get around and simply showing directions through streets from origin to destination is not entirely helpful for the commuter.  However, with Google Transit, train, ferry, bus routes and schedules are all available giving users a good idea of the commute ahead.

Google Transit is only available in select cities  in the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, Austria, France, Italy, Poland, Russia, Switzerland and the UK.  Since the system depends on transit authorities’ cooperation, cities with disordered and chaotic public transport systems will have to wait for local knowledge.