In a successful Public-Private Partnership, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) signed a license agreement with Google Inc. to include Metro's bus and rail information on Google Maps, a move that is expected to boost local transit ridership and make it much easier for anyone on the Web to plan their Los Angeles area transit trips on Metro.
Metro is the latest major transit agency to enter the Google Transit Partner Program. Google will have access to transit route and schedule data for the nearly 200 bus lines and five rail lines Metro operates within Los Angeles County. Metro also provides its transit data updates to developers on its developer site at www.metro.net/developer.
"We have listened to our customers and have provided the Google transit planning resource they have requested," said Metro CEO Art Leahy. "As the third largest transportation agency in the United States, it made perfect sense for us to join the Google phenomenon. We are extremely excited to now be a part of the most popular online mapping Website in the world, and we have high hopes that a worldwide audience will now be able to more easily plan their Metro trips here in Los Angeles."
Web users can now visit www.google.com/transit or access Google Maps, the free online mapping service provided by Google, at www.maps.google.com. Users can simply enter the date and time that they hope to arrive at their destination (or depart for the trip) and Google will provide options showing the amount of time and number of transfers for each option. By using the technology of Google Maps, users do not need to search by the exact address of their origin or destination, and can easily plan trips from landmarks, attractions and businesses. Riders can easily select the most convenient trip.
Google Maps also provides walking directions that enable users to find out exactly how to get to the nearest transit stop or station, as well as how to get to their destination once they leave the bus or train.
Google Transit, which supports 12 languages, is also expected to help international travelers plan their trips while in the region. Last year, Los Angeles had 4.7 million international visitors, many of those from non-English speaking countries.
Additionally, the free Google Translate feature increases the number of supported languages to 34.
Transit trip planning is available on both desktop computers and mobile phones such as iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, S60 and other Java enabled phones.