Friday, September 26, 2008

Confidential To Septa: It’s Time To Partner With Google Transit Already

A demonstration of Google’s new transit mapping feature in Grand Central Terminal (via NY Times)

Google Transit, the wonderful online mapping application that allows people to easily plan a trip via public transportation in cities across the world, has just launched in New York City.

And just listen to what public officials, transit officials, and Google directors had to say:
“Google Maps for Transit is a truly innovative marriage of information and infrastructure. It is a perfect example of how the public and private sectors can partner together to benefit us all – and it didn’t cost New York taxpayers a penny,” said Governor Paterson. “I applaud my colleagues at the MTA and Port Authority for making this a priority, and our friends at Google for continuing to make the world an easier place to navigate.”
Key points: No cost to taxpayers. Will make transit easier to use.
MTA Chairman H. Dale Hemmerdinger said: “At a time when the MTA is facing mounting fiscal challenges, we are thrilled to be able to offer this service to our customers at no cost to taxpayers. Google Transit will encourage ridership and underscores the importance of the MTA to the region’s economy and environment.”
Will encourage ridership. Saves MTA (web) resources to focus on other initiatives.
MTA Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Elliot G. Sander said: “The MTA is delighted to partner with Google to provide our customers with this cutting-edge tool for getting around our 5,000 square-mile territory. Customer service is a top priority, and this is just the latest example of how the MTA is pursuing innovative ideas to serve our riders.”
Innovative form of customer service.
New York City Deputy Mayor Edward Skyler said: “[…] One of the keys to increasing mass transit usage is making it easier for people to understand how to use the system. This partnership between Google and the MTA does exactly that. It harnesses the power of Google’s innovative search technologies to allow residents and visitors to more easily understand how mass transit will get them to where they need to go.”
Will make transit more accessible to new users, both residents and visitors.
John Hanke, Director of Google Maps & Earth, said: “We are extremely pleased to join forces with the MTA to provide information about their vast transit system in Google Maps. By being able to access station and schedule data for the largest public transit system in the United States via Google Maps, users are exposed to the availability and convenience of public transportation and are better equipped to take advantage of all that the New York metropolitan region has to offer.”
Expands reach of transit options to HUGE auxiliary audience outside of transit agency’s own website.
At no cost to the MTA, Google and the MTA collaborated on the development of Google Transit for the New York region, joining other major public transit providers who had launched similar services with Google, such as Chicago Transit Authority ( CTA ), NJ Transit, San Francisco ( BART ), Atlanta ( MARTA ), and internationally, Moscow and Tokyo.

The project involved consolidating and reworking disparate MTA schedule and station location data into a format that would enable the service for the New York region. This information will be made available to other developers to enable development of new customer-focused services in the future.

Google Transit complements existing MTA trip planning services, including Trip Planner and Trips 123, by providing another way for riders to discover the wealth of services that the MTA offers.
A true no-brainer in every sense of the word.

Not for nothing, it was two years ago next week that we first suggested Septa get on board with Google Transit when Google Transit launched in Pittsburgh in October 2006.

It is now, today, still as good an idea as it was then and Septa should be straight-up pilloried until they get over their reactionary fear of change/progress and bring Google Transit to Philadelphia.

Governor Patterson Announces Partnership Between MTA and Google To Help Customers Navigate Transit System [ Newswire ]
Google Transit Expands to New York [ City Room - New York Times ]
Google Says Its New Program May Boost Transit Ridership [ New York Sun ]

Google Transit To Solve Pennsylvania Public Transit Woes

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