In the single largest update to their maps service, Google have incorporated data for public transport across England, Scotland and Wales. Users can now head to the platform for information about the departure times, routes and number of stops for trains, buses and ferries across the country.
Google Maps isn’t the first app to offer this type of information, with Rome2Rio’s UK Transport Search just one of the other services providing similar coverage. Yet, because of Google’s already huge popularity, the move won’t go unnoticed and is unlikely to go underused.
Before this shake-up, the app did provide some transport data for parts of Great Britain but lacked coverage for much of Wales, the Midlands and northern England. Some searches didn’t bring up any results at all, no matter how short and simple the routes between destinations. These gaps have now been plugged with the help of Traveline’s data.
In total, up to date schedules from nearly 1,500 different transport operators have been incorporated, including more than 333,000 departure points and 17,000 different routes. This translates to every single bus, train and ferry travelling anywhere between Land’s End and John O’Groats. Google also provides information for different routes so users can compare which require the fewest transfers or least amount of walking distance between departure points.
While similar services such as Rome2Rio and Microsoft’s Bing Maps sometimes direct users to other transport sites for information, all the transport data is integrated in the Google Maps system, making for a much easier user experience. At the moment, the data is based on the latest preset timetables rather than live transport information. This is with the exception of London where real-time data is used for the tube, trains and buses.
Google will also use the new data to improve its own anticipatory search service which suggests search terms before a user finishes typing them in.
The new services are available on both the mobile and desktop versions of the app.
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