Metro Transit officials have revealed that the organization has “shared its data” with Internet behemoth Google. The revelation would suggest that Metro Transit passengers will soon be able to plan their trips in the Twin Cities using the Google Transit feature in Google Maps.
The program does more than most other trip planners, giving commuters the option of public transit, driving or walking directions. The partnership would also make Metro Transit route information more easily accessible on mobile devices.
It is unknown how Google Transit will complement Metro Transit’s recently announced trip planning tool called NextTrip, which provides real-time departure and schedule information to customers through Metro Transit’s website, by phone or at select transit stops in the Twin Cities.
Metro Transit is far from the first transit system to get on the Google bus. The Duluth Transit Authority became the 13th city added to Google Transit last year and reported a reduced call volume in its call centers and increased ridership, though some have questioned the service’s ridership-boosting powers.
Advocates of mass transit hope that a trip planner that is easier to use and understand will ultimately encourage more people to use public transportation. There is no word on when the Twin Cities will be added to Google Transit, but some are already working on having bike routes added to the service.