Tech Corner: A look at Google Maps with real-time bus data
This month’s tech corner spotlight is on Google Maps. Google Maps has evolved over the years and recently was updated to include real-time transit data including live departure times and service alerts. Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Geri uses the app frequently for bus and car trips and is sharing five takeaways from her experience.
How many times do we refer to Google Maps and sometimes not even realize it? If you’re like me and need extra reassurance of where you’re going, even when you already know, then Google Maps is basically glued to your thumb. I use it for almost all my trips but when it came to transit trips, I didn’t trust it. I used to get an idea of a route but would then use apps like OneBusyAway and the Trip Planner app to plan out a route. After learning that Google Maps launched a program to include real-time transit data and transit agencies in the Puget Sound area— I was thrilled! Here are my five takeaways from using Google Maps to plan my bus trips.
- It is fairly accurate- I’ve used the Google Maps to route my bus trips to and from a class I’ve been taking and the arrival time has been fairly accurate. One time after I set up my route it alerted me that my bus would be delayed two minutes. It will even tell you when your bus is early. Google Maps didn’t have this feature for the transit mode in the past.
- It is easy to use- If you’ve used Google Maps before or even not at all, the user experience is fluid. It’s fairly easy to switch from mode to mode (car, transit, walk or bike) with a tap of a finger. The process is as follows: enter your destination, tap the mode icon in the lower right screen, change the mode by tapping on one of the mode icons at the top of the screen, change your depart, arrival or depart times and explore more options. More options include preferences for a specific transit mode and if you want best route, fewer transfers or less walking.
- Gives you an option for Uber- Even when you choose transit as your route, an option for Uber is included with pickup time and estimated price.
- Provides departure times for particular stop– I particularly liked that there are departure times for the specific stop that you are at. I can’t always find this in other apps.
- You can add it to your calendar– My favorite part is that you can add your route to your calendar if you have a calendar app or Google (on your phone). Perfect if you have a busy day and need extra reminders.
Overall I really like using Google Maps even more now that I can plan out my bus trips in addition to car trips. Adding your trip to your calendar isn’t too bad of a deal either. Try it out and let us know what you think. What do you like about it and what do you wish there was more of? What other apps have you used to plan your trips? Comment below, on our Facebook or Twitter or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer, Geri