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Sydney among global cities to have public transport on Google Maps

31 July 2012

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Getting directions for public transport in Sydney has become a lot simpler, with a new feature introduced in Google Maps allowing public transport commuters to get directions using Google Maps, says David Heath, Journalist at iT Wire.

Some might suggest that if Sydney can do this anyone can. Perth and Adelaide would agree (implemented in 2008), as would Canberra and Cairns (both 2009). Brisbane promised inclusion in 2010 and Melbourne in 2011 (nothing forthcoming as yet).

Most other places in Australia only have one bus, so it's probably not that important (joking!).

When you access the Get Directions option in Google maps, you'll now see an additional icon - in the past you could choose a car, walking or bicycle preference; now there is a 4th button for public transport (it looks kinda like a stylised bus / tram / train from front-on).

Using that option, you'll be offered a departure time (defaulting to 'now') and a selection of possible routes. The results will estimate the likely travel time.

In testing the system, we found that it was difficult to convince the system to make use of the ferries (unless a very obvious route was selected), although busses, trains and the inner-city light rail and monorail services were all easily offered.

In addition, the options link permits users to limit the transit mode (to trains only, for instance). Also, one can ask to optimise by least-walking or fewest transfers.

In announcing the new feature, NSW Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian said, "This Government is making sure customers have the best tools and latest technology to help them navigate our public transport network. The news today means Sydney now joins global cities including London, New York and Hong Kong that also have public transport on Google Maps."

Ms Berejiklian added, "Transport Info 131500 is still the best tool for information about trackwork and unscheduled interruptions. At this stage public transport information will be updated to Google each week."

"Of course, the government is happy to talk to any developer who wants to use the data to help customers, and ultimately increase patronage of public transport," Ms Berejiklian said.

Furthermore, as Google notes on their blog entry, users of the Android app will receive alerts when it is time to get off a bus or to make a transfer.

It is anticipated that future updates could include real-time updates, locations of car parks, bike racks and lockers.

Brisbane and Melbourne? Time to pull your fingers out.

Source : iTWire

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