Google Maps makes it easy to tell when the next bus is coming with live transit update

station departures

For those of us that live in cities with an extensive network of public transportation, owning a car seems like a ridiculous idea. To live in such a city however, and be so dependent on buses, trains, subways, and trams, you need to know routes and schedules. Some cities have plenty of information, be it analog or digital, that make your commute easier, but in the age of the smartphone there has to be a better way. Enter Google Maps, who has provided information about where you can hop on a bus or tram for some time now. Today they’re making it even better by announcing that live transit information is now available, both on the desktop version of maps and the mobile version that nearly everyone with a smartphone uses today. Rollout will be limited to Boston, Mass; Portland, Ore; San Diego and San Francisco, CA; and Madrid and Turin over in Europe. While we would have liked to see places like New York City, Paris, Barcelona, and Helsinki added, we know it’s only a matter of time until Google makes this a reality.

If you’re not in one of the 5 cities that has the new live transit feature, then don’t fret. Chances are that your city has either an official app or one made by a third party that shows you how to best utilize the public infrastructure. In New York for example, there’s “On the Go“, which isn’t as interactive as Google Maps, but does win points for being a mobile optimized website so it’ll work on damn near everything. In Helsinki there’s Mobitransit, which makes use of the GPS transmitters put on every tram so you can see exactly how much longer you have to stand out in the freezing cold.

What app or site do you use for your city? Let us know in the comments below!

  • Anonymous

    They better get this feature out to New York city quickly. It should’ve been first on the list NOT BOSTON MASS OR PORTLAND ORE…What gives???

  • Bruce

    I use Nextbus and it is superb. On a phone, no clicking on a map is necessary. Nextbus finds your location and gives you a list of nearby stops and estimated arrival times.

  • I love nextbus

    New York has been trying to do real-time for 20 years.  They’re now pursuing a really stupid strategy that uses open source and only tells riders how many stops away the bus is – really stupid. I think San Francisco, Boston and LA use something called NextBus – I assume that Google is taking a prediction feed from Nextbus.

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