Rural public transit tracking available on Google Transit
Getting around town got easier for some Idahoans since technology giant Google recently added transit information for five of Idaho's public transportation providers to its transit trip planner database.
The Google Transit trip planner allows travelers to view transit routes, identify bus schedule times, gather ticket prices and plan the most efficient trip using public transportation.
The trip planner accesses information that Idaho's 511 transit system currently maintains for six fixed-route public transportation providers in the state. Google Transit does not replace Idaho's 511 transit system, but offers a convenient alternative for people familiar with Google's Web technology.
"The launch of Idaho's 511 Transit tool was the first step in bringing Idaho's transit information online," said Randy Kyrias, public transportation administrator for the Idaho Transportation Department.
"We've been working closely with Google Transit to get the files from ITD's 511 Transit included into Google's transit trip planner," Kyrias explained. "This week, Google picked up five of the six current 511 providers - which gives folks the ability to enter their starting and ending points in Google and see how they can get there via public transportation. Previously, this wasn't an option."
The five Idaho transit providers contributing information to Google Transit are:
For services such as START Bus and Northwestern Trailways that operate routes across state lines, Google Transit is only featuring Idaho routes at this time.
Additional providers will appear on 511 Transit and Google Transit in the coming months, including Treasure Valley Transit, Salt Lake Express, Regional Public Transportation, City of Lewiston, Mountain Rides, and Valley Rides.
"We're very excited about the role technology is playing in improving the customer experience," said Kyrias. "The easier it is for someone to find information regarding public transportation routes and services, the more likely it is that they will consider it as an option for getting where they need to go."
Besides computers, Idahoans also can operate Google Transit from their iPhone, iPod Touch, Android system, and Blackberry smart phones.
To access Idaho transit options online and via Google Transit visit www.google.com and type the word "transit" in the address line after the forward slash.
511 Transit is Idaho's online tool offering real-time information regarding fixed-route public transportation provider schedules, stops, and routes. Customers can access the system at www.511.idaho.gov. The system is supported through a partnership between local providers and the Idaho Transportation Department as a result of Idaho's mobility coordination system, I-way (www.i-way.org )