June 8, 2011 at 12:06 PM ET
Commuters everywhere have a routine, and when their routine is upset, they wonder what's going on. If they have access to Google Maps on their smartphones, they don't have to wonder anymore.
If you live in in Boston, Portland (Oregon), San Diego, San Francisco, Madrid or Turin, Google Maps for mobile and desktop (see above; to check before you leave!) could now be your go-to resource for finding out when your train, bus or trolley is due to arrive. Real-time information will be at your fingertips.
Google has partnered with transit agencies in those cities to bring you live transit updates, which you'll get by clicking on those station icons in the app. "Live departure times" will pop up and allow you to gauge whether it's better to wait, or catch a cab, if you're running late. This video demos the new features:
If there are delays and/or alerts, Google Maps will pull those up for you, too. Check it out:
The Official Google Blog informs us the company is working on partnering with transit agencies in other cities to provide the service to more people. In some cities, this kind of service is already available, through the public transit agencies. In Seattle, we have OneBusAway, which is available on desktop, smartphone and via text. Metro North, Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit uses CooCoo, which provides real-time train times, schedules and delays. NextBus provides real-time transit information for several cities, including San Francisco, Boulder, Washington (DC), Baltimore and Boston.