Getting around on public transport just got a whole lot easier for smartphone users, and once again we have Google Maps to be thankful to – the service has just introduced public transit schedules for one million train, bus, subway and tram stops in more than 500 cities worldwide.
The new feature is available through Google Maps on all platforms, but by far and away the most useful will be the smartphone version, which was rolled out with a new update to Google Maps on Android yesterday. Once you’ve installed the new update, you’ll be able to select from four specific transportation modes – trains, busses, trams or the subway – and instantly access route information and schedules for these services.
Departure times and other vital information such as distances between stops can all be found on Google’s redesigned station pages. To access these pages, all you need to do is find the station you’re looking for on the map and give it a quick tap.
Christopher Van Der Westhuizen, a software engineer for Google Maps, wrote in Google’s blog that update would provide immediate benefits for smartphone users:
“Whether you’re looking for schedule and fare information, directions by public transit or nearby stations, Google Maps puts comprehensive, accurate and useful transit information at your fingertips.”
Whilst Google’s official announcement emphasized the benefits of the app’s new public transport features, the company has made a couple of other changes. As of now, the app will show an outline of the borders of a region (such as a city or a postcode) that you search for, a feature that was previously only available on the desktop version.
My Places has also been tweaked, making it easier to access custom maps, while those who enable location history will be able to browse their Location History dashboard to view the places that they’ve visited on a daily basis.