It was one of those days.  TransLink launched their new trip-finder service with Google – the first city in Canada to do so – on the day the media had some raw meat to feed on: bus driver assaulted by teenage girls; bus burned.  TransLink execs paid big bucks for car use. 
And so a very cool new service gets lost in the buzz.  Cynicism increases.  
But let’s go back and check out what Google Transit can do.  I’ll use the demonstration the nice young man from Google showed us.
Let’s say you’re from out of town and have heard about the “Giant Crab of Doom.”  Forget Stanley Park; you want to see the giant crab.   How do you get there when all you know is that somewhere in the city, there’s a large, ominous crab?
You go to Google Maps – here.  And you type in “Giant Crab of Doom.”  Really.  Go ahead, try it out.
Because Google Maps is now integrating home-made ‘community maps,’ you’ve come across Danielle’s personal list of “Great Fountains of the World” as the first entry.  And to the right: a map specifying the location of our very own doom-like crab.  But still, how do you get there?
In the box on the map to the right, after “Get Directions,” click on “To Here.”
Now type in your own address in the blank box, assuming you’re in Vancouver, or, if not, try “SFU Harbour Centre.”  Click “Go.”
Google Maps will have given you default directions to go by car to the Vancouver Museum.
But now the good part: On the upper left, under “Search Results,” second line down, you’ll see after “Drive There,” the option to “Take Public Transit.”
Which, of course, you will click so you can get this:
Google Transit
Now you have walking directions to the nearest transit stop that will get you to the closest place from which to walk to said crab.  Of course, there’s the name of the bus, the route, the schedule, and the option to get all the details for the reverse trip.  You get the travel time – 20 minutes in my case.
Up near the top of the box on the left, there’s “Options” to choose other dates and times, as well as alternate routes.
You can zoom in on the map to get a closer look, and change to “Satellite” or “Hybrid”  to see details of the urban fabric. 
It doesn’t tell you how much the trip costs – but there is a link to “TransLink” at the bottom.
Altogether, a very cool way to get to meet your crab of doom.
Crab

Comments

  1. I tried out the Google Transit website to see how which would be the fastest route in order for me to arrive at work by 9:30am tomorrow. It turns out that it only offered 2 suggestions, neither of which included taking the SkyTrain but involved only 1 transfer.
    The TransLink website offered routes that had shorter trip times, but which required me take first take a bus to the SkyTrain station, then get off at Broadway Stn to catch the #99 B-Line (2 transfers). The Google Transit site isn’t as effective as the TransLink site because it doesn’t sort alternative routes according to trip time, walking distance, and number of transfers. Until this is fixed, I’m sticking with the TransLink website.

  2. Nifty! Thanks for telling me about this– I’m a Coast Mountain Bus employee and had no idea that this had been introduced!

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