Google Maps gets live transit updates

google mapsPublic transit can be a tyrant at times. It doesn’t care if you’ve got a big interview, court appointment or a hot date. Well, thanks to a new Google project, you won’t be left standing around at a bus stop sounding like a Samuel Beckett play.

Google has rolled out a new update for Google Maps that gives you live transit updates. That means route maps, departure times, information on delays and service alerts. You’ll still be waiting, but at least you won’t agonize over the unknown.

According to the Google blog, “When you click on a transit station or plan a transit route with Google Maps and there are delays or alerts related to your trip, you’ll now see “live departure times” (indicated with a special icon) and service alerts.”

The feature is available for Google Maps on desktop, mobile browsers and the latest version of the Google Maps for mobile app; as long as your device is running Android 1.6 or higher.

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Google has partnered with the transit agencies to integrate this live transit data in four U.S. cities so far, two of the cities coinciding with their Google Offers availability. Boston, San Diego, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon will be the first cities to try out the feature, though it’s interesting that New York isn’t getting a taste since public transit is well used there (The Warriors). Google is also bringing it overseas to the European cities of Madrid, Spain and Turin, Italy.

The company’s project is just beginning so there’s no word on when other cities might be getting the service. Google ended its transmission by saying “We’re working with our public transit partners to help them provide live data to more people in more cities.”

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