Google Maps Misses the Bus

December 4, 2017

Google Maps is the preferred GPS system for millions of people.  It uses real-time information to report accidents and stay updated on road conditions.  It is great when you are driving or walking around a city, but when it comes to public transportation, especially to the airports, Google ignores it.  City Lab discusses, “Why Doesn’t Google Maps Know The Best Way To the Airport?”

Speaking from personal experience on a recent trip to New York City, I had to get from Queens to LaGuardia airport.  Google Maps took me the most roundabout way possible, instead of routing me to direct trains and buses.  Google’s directions may have required less train switching, but it took me in the opposite direction of my destination.

Google Maps has a problem listing airport specific transportation in its app, but it really should not be a problem.

As Google describes things, putting those city-to-terminal routes into its mapping apps shouldn’t be that hard. A transit operator has to apply to be listed in Google Transit, publish its schedule in the standard General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) format, and have Google run some quality tests on that feed before factoring it into directions.


But some smaller transit operations don’t get to the first step. They don’t even know it’s an option.

Transportation services may not know how to be added to Google, but Google also not reached out to them.  Historically, Google has only reached out to large transportation entities, because it meant more business on their end.  Google also has this weird clause transportation services need to sign before their information is added to Google Maps.  It alleviates Google from “any defects in the data” and it sounds like Google does not want to be held responsible for misinformation displayed on Google Maps.

Whitney Grace, December 4, 2017


Comments are closed.

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta