You will soon be able to ask Google Maps how full your bus or train will be

2019-07-05 09:06
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Google Maps has just rolled out a brand new 'crowdedness predictions' feature in 200 cities.

The new feature, launched on Thursday 4 July 2019, is able to give commuters live public transport updates, like letting you know of any bus or train delays, plus it will also be able to tell you how crowded your bus or train will be at any given time. 

The Observer reports that unlike road traffic which relies on satellite feeds for data, 'crowdedness predictions' will be made based on past foot traffic patterns of a line or station, plus optional feedback given directly from the people who use Google Maps every day - you might have already received notifications asking you how full the bus or train was, just like you get a notification to rate a restaurant just after you've eaten there.  

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These predictions will allow commuters to choose whether, for example they want to squeeze themselves into an over-congested bus at 5pm or wait 11 minutes and have a much better experience in a less crowded bus. 

The feature will say things like: "Usually standing room only" at 5pm on this exact train or bus. 


IMAGE: Google

Google wrote on its blog, "When you have an important meeting, a date with a friend, or a doctor’s appointment, often the first thing you’ll do is check the transit schedule to make sure you can make it on time. Unfortunately, transit schedules don’t always reflect real-time traffic conditions that impact your ride, which can cause a lot of unnecessary stress when you end up arriving later than you thought you would. 

"To solve for this, Google Maps is launching live traffic delays for buses in places where we don’t already have real-time information direct from local transit agencies. You’ll now be able to see if your bus will be late, how long the delay will be, and more accurate travel times based on live traffic conditions along your route. You’ll also see exactly where the delays are on the map so you know what to expect before you even hop on your bus.

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"This new information will be especially valuable to those that travel on busy routes, especially during rush hours."

Subways and transit routes in cities like Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Paris and Tokyo are some of the most congested in the world, and this new feature will surely be welcomed with open arms in these cities. 

But what about South Africa? 

The feature has been rolled out in 200 cities thus far. These cities were identified as having the most crowded public transit routes in the world - South African cities are not on this list. However, the feature should make its way to our shores in due time.

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