Home > Austin, public, sustainability, travel, web > one step closer to Google Transit in Austin

one step closer to Google Transit in Austin

September 29, 2006 Leave a comment Go to comments

i’ve been waiting for Google Transit to include Austin for a year now, but the other day saw only the addition of four other cities. i’ve emailed Google Transit and CapMetro multiple times, but never saw anything happen. well, now that Google Transit has added more cities, they’re providing the ability for transit agencies to get their route info into Google Transit. that’s super exciting, b/c now the possibility exists for CapMetro to become a part of Google Transit, which means that getting route info and times could be a relatively painless issue (if you’ve ever tried to find out the route you need to take using CapMetro’s ‘Trip Planner’, and then checking out what route the recommended bus actually takes, you know what i’m talking about [*see explanation below]).

in an attempt to jumpstart the process, i immediately emailed CapMetro’s customer service, and then called them as well. i then spoke to the first operator, who hadn’t ever heard of Google Maps. i was then transferred to a different operator who had heard of Google Maps, and she then hooked me up w/ the CapMetro IT dept. now we’re getting somewhere. the IT dept doesn’t handle this type of request, though, so i was hooked up w/ the head of customer service next. this guy rocked, he knew of Google Transit, and was eager to learn more about it. i emailed him the link w/ instructions to get Austin involved, and then we chatted up the benefits of getting Austin into Google Transit. he did tip me off that we’re dealing w/ a bit of a bureaucracy, so this wouldn’t be an overnight fix, but he was encouraging and took my contact info. here’s to hoping!

*okay, here’s how i sometimes like to drive myself mad: start out at CapMetro’s home page where i can find the ‘Trip Planner’ in the righthand column. i then insert as starting point: ’50th St. and Duval’ and as ending point: ‘W. 22nd St. and Guadalupe’. CapMetro doesn’t know what 50th St. is, so i need to go back and specify Eas 50th St. it doesn’t recognize that either, so i specify 51st St., and then East 51st Street. no-go. i then finally insert my address as a last ditch attempt, which works. now it doesn’t understand the ending address, so i try West 22nd St. and West 22nd Street, both to no avail. it finally just recognized Guadalupe Street, which in reality is not what it should do (maybe i want to get off at 7th St. instead of 22nd).

ok, we’ve got the route set. now i’m given a list of 3 possible itineraries. i can either take the #7 from 51st and Duval to San Jacinto and 26th – or, get this – 50th and Duval to San Jacinto and 24th. wow, incredible recommendation. i can also take the #5 from Speedway and 45th to Guadalupe and 25th. but where do those routes go? how do i know which one would be a better choice? the only way to see the route is to open the accompanying pdf file containing the route and stop times. what a huge aggravating waste of time. plus, all the time required for me to input the info has probably made me miss the most recent bus. grrrrr.

so this is why it would be great for CapMetro to join Google Transit. πŸ™‚

UPDATE: Google Transit finally in Austin!

Advertisements
  1. September 30, 2006 at 5:14 pm

    I live in Chicago, and I too am interested in seeing Google Transit add my city. I had the same idea as Kenny and just sent an email to the Chicago Transit Authority to encourage them to submit their information Google.

    Here is a copy of my letter if others want to use it as a starting point to email their transit authority. I figure the best way to get more cities added is to have local residents to push their transit authorities. I sent mine to ctahelp@transitchicago.com.

    Here it is:

    Dear CTA,

    I wanted to make you aware of an innovative new service that Google recently launched called Google Transit (http://www.google.com/transit). The service allows a person to enter a starting point and a destination, and the service will give the person exact directions with the best bus or train route to use along with an estimate of the time it will take and a map of the route. In addition, you can tell Google Transit when you are planning to make the trip and it will take into account the timing of bus and/or train schedules to give you an accurate estimate for the trip time. The service is currently available for six U.S. cities, and Google wants to make it more widespread.

    I think it would be incredible beneficial for Chicagoans if the CTA were included. A big drawback to using the CTA now to go to an unfamiliar place is knowing exactly which bus or train to take and knowing how long it will take.

    The service is completely free to users and free for transit systems to participate. They have set up a simple file specification that you can set up and quickly be included in Google Transit. Also, you can email them at labs-transit_content@google.com to get more information.

    I strongly encourage you to submit your transit system information to Google. I think this would be a great help to current (and potential) riders of the CTA and would increase ridership. Google Transit is easy way to plan a trip using public transportation. This would provide numerous benefits to everyone involved. The increased revenue from riders would more than offset the small effort in submitting the bus and train schedules to Google.

    Here are some useful links about Google Transit:

    Google Transit – http://www.google.com/transit

    Google Transit Info –
    http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/09/happy-trails-with-google-transit.html

    Google Transit Feed Specification –
    http://code.google.com/transit/spec/transit_feed_specification.htm

    Google Transit email – labs-transit_content@google.com

    Thank you for you help in making the CTA more useful to its riders. Please check out Google Transit and add your information to the service.

    Sincerely,

  2. March 8, 2007 at 11:21 am

    We thought you might be interested in . We’re pretty excited about it. πŸ˜‰

  3. March 8, 2007 at 11:27 am

    thanks tom! my contact at CapMetro emailed me about it this morning and i already posted it to this blog. i’ve added an UPDATE note at the end of this post.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: