As iTWire colleague David Heath has pointed out in his story “Sydney’s public transport finally appears on Google Maps”, and as seen at the official Google Australia Blog and the NSW Dept of Transport, public directions for NSW Google Maps users is finally, finally here.
The NSW Transport Dept says on its site that it has “collaborated with Google to launch public transport on Google Maps”, and that the traditional Google Maps options of car, bus or walking direction is now augmented with the long-awaited option of public transport directions.
David’s article explained (among other things) how some other Australian cities started offering this option since 2008 and others followed over the past few years, with Sydney in 2012 – but with Melbourne and Brisbane still awaiting that Google goodness.
Our transport dept also notes the service is available “in 12 different languages including Mandarin, Spanish and German”, which will be a boon for international travellers wanting to use public transport without needing to learn a new language.
What it all means is that we will “now be able to quickly generate public transport directions from point A to point B by simply clicking on the “Get Directions” button and then selecting the public transport icon”.
You can even use Google’s Street View facility to see what your destination – or embarkation point – is going to look like – let alone the actual destination you’re heading for, should you need such a handy level of visual detail before you embark on your public transport travels.
Naturally, given Google’s focus on everything mobile these days, the public transport directions are available on mobile phones too, so, Google says, “you will always have access to a trip planner” – although as we noted, the TripView people might not be so delighted.
As you’d expect, Android users of the Google Maps for Mobile app get special treatment, giving you a “step-by-step guide that gives you alerts when it’s the right time to get off the bus or when to make a transfer.”
With “57 bus, train and ferry companies included”, it’s important to note this development is for all of NSW – it’s not just a Sydney-only thing, thankfully, with Google concluding that “people living across the state, in towns large or small, will be able to take advantage of this new feature”.
Sweet! It really is a public transport service improvement treat, and while the help from the NSW Department of Transport was obviously very handy, it has taken Google to do it while seamlessly blending it with the rest of Maps’ capabilities.