Google has added three new features to Google Maps in India to make local transport more “relevant, accurate, and reliable”. These are part of Google’s yearlong effort to add localised features to Google Maps, which also include the bike mode as well as the Plus Codes for deliveries. Earlier, Google Maps had updated its voice navigation system in March to include six additional Indian languages: Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam.
In a blog post today, the tech giant announced that users can now see bus travel times from live traffic in 10 cities across India. It will also begin showing train status for Indian Railways trains. Google Maps is also gaining the ability to show auto-rickshaw in its mixed-mode commute suggestions, with an interface which will also display the estimated auto fare.
Earlier, Maps would only display the commute time for metro trains, cars, bike and walking modes. Auto rickshaws which are a critical part of the commute chain connect junctions such as metro stations, bus stops with neighbourhoods, fulfilling the last-mile commute need. These were previously never used in Google Maps’ travel time estimates.
Google Maps’ Focus On Public Transport
Google Maps will show bus travel times based on live traffic data in Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Lucknow, Chennai, Mysuru, Coimbatore and Surat. Google already provides travel estimates based on traffic data, and now it will use public bus schedules to calculate delays and provide accurate travel times. This is something that’s already available in many European cities as well as in the US. The new feature will help users know how long their bus trip will take based on live traffic conditions.
To use this feature, users will have to enter their starting location and destination, then tap the transit tab. The results will include the estimated time in green (when running on time) or red (when delayed).
Real-time Tracking Of Indian Trains
This feature will make train journeys easier to track by indicating the real-time status of Indian Railways’ trains. To be clear, such services have been available on the web for some time, though Google Maps is definitely handier than searching on Google.
Users can search for the origin and destination locations, or their starting station and destination to see a list of trains between these routes. From there, they can see the real-time status and whether any trains are delayed.
This feature was developed in partnership with the Where is My Train app that Google acquired last year. The app had recorded more than 10 Mn downloads and used information from cell towers along the route, instead of the internet or GPS to locate trains in real-time.
The Arrival Of Autorickshaws
Arguably the handiest addition is the ability to accommodate auto-rickshaws in estimated travel time. Google Maps will tell users whether taking an auto-rickshaw is a good option, how long the journey might take, and which stations are ideal for taking an auto-rickshaw. It will also display the estimated metre fare, and the departure times for other commute options near your destination, if the auto is used as a go-between commute option. Currently, the feature is available in Delhi and Bengaluru and will be extended to other cities.