Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Google Transit Arrives in Pune!

Google has just announced that Google Transit will be coming to Pune. For those unaware, Transit is a Google Project that seeks to encourage travelling by Public Transport in various cities around the world. It is now present in almost 500 cities around the world including Bangalore and Delhi. It has tied up with the BMTC in Bangalore to launch Bangalore Bus Routes and with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation for Delhi Metro Routes. Kolkata Metro and Chennai MRTS support it as well.

In Pune it has partnered with the bus service – PMPML and added its information to Google Maps. Pune’s bus service caters to around 1 million passengers in a day. The service is very simple to use and can be used on the desktop as well as on the go. You search for a route from Point A to Point B as you would do normally on Google Maps. Then Select the Transit option, instead of the the regular driving directions option and voila – you’re good to go – provided there are buses on that route of course.

I tried a sample route from Pune Cantonment to M.G.Road, but since I’ve been to Pune only once I’m not sure how accurate it is, though it seems fine.

Transit for Pune has route information for 320 PMPML buses. It does not track buses in real time, so the schedules may not be very accurate. Nevertheless at least public transport information is more easily available this way. Regulars know their way around, but this is will be very helpful to irregular commuters who are often left blinking at bus stands. I know I used to.

I know for a fact that Bangalore has a website that has real time(at least claims to) bus information, though it doesn’t look very mobile friendly(I’ve never used it, but if you have, do let us know in the comments section). And several cities do have Information lines you can call/SMS to get bus information, but they haven’t really caught on. Hopefully, in the near future, Transit will reach smaller cities and incorporate other means of public transport as well. Real time tracking will be great as well. Google are you listening?

Have you used Google Transit to find your way? Let us know!

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