Thursday, July 29, 2010

Google Transit, Where Are You?

In March of this year, the Star Phoenix reported that Google Transit was going to roll out in Saskatoon. At the end of June, to be exact.

It's now the end of July, and there's no Google Transit in sight! A careful googling for clues reveals nothing - there's literally no mention of Google Transit and Saskatoon on the internet except for that one article (and on Wikipedia, citing the same Star Phoenix article). Is it really coming?

I'd love to see Google Transit in Saskatoon. Anything would be better than Saskatoon's incredibly slow, complex Click'n'Go. I recall during the extremely cold week of January 2010 the entire City of Saskatoon's website was completely unavailable for several days due to the volume of people trying to access it. Assuming the buses weren't running, I skipped class (it turned out the buses were running).

The best feature that Google Transit would bring is Google Maps integration. Plug in where you are and where you're going, and Google Transit finds the best route(s). Google Transit also works with Google Maps on smartphones - iPhones, BlackBerrys, and Android phones. This alone has the potential to massively boost transit ridership! Making routes easy to access - and more importantly, easy to search for while on the go - has the potential to significantly increase the number of riders.

Google has a knack for organizing information and making it easy to use and access. Hopefully, Google Transit for Saskatoon rolls out soon, and provides us with a better solution than Click'n'Go, dialing 975-7500, or carrying around a massive stash of brochures.