Currently, information on local bus services available

This is bound to be good news for those who use Google Maps to figure out their way around the city and who are determinedly faithful to the public transport system.

Google Transit, the search giant's application that gives users access to public transport systems embedded on Google maps, was launched in Chennai and Hyderabad on Wednesday. Currently, only information pertaining to local bus services is available.

Google Transit can be accessed on maps.google.co.in by clicking the train icon (indicative of public transport). As usual, with the maps feature, you can plot the route between point A to point B by choosing the ‘Directions' option.

A car and a train icon appear side by side; clicking on the train icon, you get a list of bus services from the start point to the destination, and approximate journey time.

It also provides the frequency of services, according to Manik Gupta, Head, Maps and Local Products, Google.

The service is also available as a mobile application. Additionally, on the mobile, you can even figure out where exactly the bus stop is located. “If you are not familiar with the area, you may not know where the bus stop is, it is not well laid out in every city. This is an additional advantage,” said Mr. Gupta.

In a chat with The Hindu, he said that the information was collated from multiple sources, and “we are quite certain that the data out there is accurate, in terms of services available and frequency.”

However, the application does not account for real time travel, or traffic logjams. So while Transit might indicate that it will take 26 minutes by bus (route No 11 A) to go from T. Nagar to Chintadripet MRTS station, the actual time taken is close to double that during rush hours.

Transit does not provide for direct instantaneous user feedback or updates on traffic scenes or breakdowns (of buses) that may help other users avoid a particular route.

On the other hand, Mr. Gupta says, information can be input into the Google Support page. Also, you could use the mapmaker tool to indicate if landmarks plotted on the maps have changed. “Hopefully, we will get going on this [direct user feedback] as well.” The goal is to expand the service to cover all forms of public transport in all cities in India. It is already available in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune and Bangalore.

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