Thursday, February 26, 2009

CATS to join Google Transit

Google has a transit-finding component to Google Maps, and starting soon, the Charlotte Area Transit System (a.k.a. CATS) will be a part of the service.
You'll be able to look online, click on where you are on the map, click on where you want to go, and you can get transit directions. Just like driving directions.

CATS chief Keith Parker says the program uses CATS routes and and schedules, so it will tell you when the bus or Lynx is supposed to arrive, but won't be able to say, for example, Bus 20 is running 20 minutes late.

CATS isn't spending money on this, he said. Google does it.

If you go to the link above, or try transit.google.com, right now, you'll see a big map of the U.S., with no transit options offered in North and South Carolina. Hmm, you'd think Amtrak might want to at least load its passenger service into this.

This news came via a tip from Harry Johnson. Check out his Carolina Transit blog.

An addendum: In giving it a test run, I checked for directions from our house to the Dowd Y on Morehead St. No transit directions (yet), but there is an option for walking directions. I got the walking directions, but also a caution note popped: "Use caution – This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths." So very Charlotte.

13 comments:

barkomomma said...

Seriously? How much money do you think it's going to take Google for you to click on Point A and then click on Point B just to have a box pop up that says:

"Google Transit - CATS Route(s): You can't get there from here."

:-p

Anonymous said...

You don't live on a transit line? Well what a surprise. Do as you say, not as you do.

Eli said...

In Charlotte's defense, that warning is on every result you get for walking directions. I checked it on routes in other cities where I know there are sidewalks the whole way. It looks like a general disclaimer by Google.

cltean said...

Good to see it finally happened. Contacted some CATS folks about joining up, and they've been working on it for over a year. Good Job!

meckdeck said...

This is actually very interesting.

Now, why can't CATS go 'head and allow advertising on its buses? That's cash money.

JAT

Anonymous said...

I've used Google transit piece when dealing with Atlanta, it was very useful indeed (though I drove instead).

People that would bad mouth this post obviously cannot deal with mass transit in Charlotte and/or in general. Doesn't cost a dime to the taxpayer and is another function on Google... both together makes this a WIN.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

CATS isn't spending money on this, he said. Google does it.

So why wasn't this done earlier?

Anonymous said...

What a waste if it does not tell you if the bus or light rail is running late or not. You can get transit info. now at the CATS website www.ridetransit.org. Just click on travel planner. It will tell you which bus/light rail to take and the publish schedule. It does not give real time info on bus/train performance. Many parts of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are not served by bus or light rail. Travel Planner will just response no travel option found.

Places like San Francisco uses GPS system. Which allows passenger to find the arrival time of their next bus. Go to the website www.nextbus.com. Hopefully one day CATS will subscribe to www.nextbus.com

Anonymous said...

It must take a lot of guts to use foul and offensive language when you're cloaked in anonymity.

Anonymous said...

"So why wasn't this done earlier?"

Because Google hasn't gotten around to it yet.

"You can get transit info. now at the CATS website www.ridetransit.org. Just click on travel planner. It will tell you which bus/light rail to take and the publish schedule."

The CATS travel planner is okay, but many people prefer to use Google maps. More options for information is always good.

"Many parts of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are not served by bus or light rail."

Yeah, but I'd never care to go to any of those places anyway.

Cato said...

I hope Parker's made sure that it's updated to reflect the bus routes CATS recently cut to help finance rail.

Anonymous said...

I hope Parker's made sure that it's updated to reflect the bus routes CATS recently cut to help finance rail.

Correction: You hope he's made sure that it's updated to reflect the bus routes CATS recently cut in order to force people onto rail.