Google Maps adds MTA service changes to directions tool
Navigating around canceled subway service has gotten a little easier.
Google Maps improved its transit directions service Tuesday by incorporating planned MTA shutdowns into the site's trip-planning service for the first time, Google announced.
When riders open the site or a Google Maps smartphone app, they'll be able to see planned service changes at each subway station, or get route suggestions that take the diversions into account. The website and apps will not notify riders of unscheduled problems or take into account planned bus route alterations.
Google, which began working with the MTA in 2008 to offer travel directions, didn't say why it wasn't previously able to provide the planned subway service changes into its service, or say if -- or when -- it would add bus route modifications to its directions tool.
"We're always looking for ways to improve the experience of transit riders," Google spokesman Sean Carlson said Tuesday.
Google currently provides real-time alerts for London's underground service; the company says it is only able to offer that service when a transit agency releases its information in the format Google uses, General Transit Feed Specification.
An MTA spokesman said the agency was hoping to begin providing that info to the public by year's end, but only for its No. 1 through 6 subway lines. Those lines have newer, more modern signals that make it easier to share a subway's location.
The MTA's already offers a GPS navigation system for buses on Staten Island, and will expand its "Bus Time" program to the Bronx, and to another borough that has not been named, by the end of 2012. Real-time bus tracking will be available on buses in all five boroughs by the end of next year.