It’s official, COTA has joined 47 other US transit agencies and 17 international systems on Google Transit. This should make planning a trip on COTA lot easier because Google does a better job recognizing the intersections and landmarks a user inputs. You can also flip between driving and transit directions if you want to compare travel times. So how do you use this cool new tool?
1. Go to Google Maps
2. Search for directions between two places.
3. At the top of the left frame, click on Public Transit
4. You can change departure or arrival time and date by clicking on “Options”
5. The planner will give you what it thinks are your best transit alternatives.
- If you search for destinations outside the service area it will tell you something like “Your search for transit directions from Delaware, OH to N High St & E Broad St, Columbus, Franklin, Ohio 43215, United States appears to be outside our current coverage area.”
- If you search for directions to or from an area within the service area that isn’t served on that day of the week or at that time of day, it may tell you to walk to the nearest stop, even if the walk is very far or nearly impossible. For example, do you want to go from Downtown to Polaris Fashion Place today to do some shopping on your day off? No problem, just take the #1 to Westerville and walk 53 minutes to the mall.
- Polylines seem to go from stop-to-stop. So if you search for an express route that uses a freeway, the line just jumps from the last stop to downtown without following the path of the freeway. It doesn’t change the result, but it does look strange.
- A bigger problem is that Google thinks the #52 OSU-Airport route runs more regularly than it does. This route only runs on a few days a year when OSU is beginning or ending a quarter, but some searches are still telling me to take the #52, even though it is not an option on that day. I’d hate to miss a flight because of that.