London Public Transport On Google Maps Highlights What We’re Missing

London Public Transport On Google Maps Highlights What We’re Missing

Google has just added public transport directions for the whole of London. The London Underground alone has 270 stations. If that’s possible, why are we still largely stuck with no directions on Google Maps in Australia’s major cities?The answer has nothing to do with technology, sadly, and everything to do with recalcitrant state governments doing a lousy job of making their timetable data openly available for use on Google Maps (and in mobile phone apps and lots of other services). It has happened in Perth and Adelaide, so it clearly isn’t impossible.

Commuters have a messy enough time of it as it is, and making this data available is a straightforward task compared to dealing with overcrowding, ageing rail networks, bad weather and everything else. So just get on it with it government guys, please!


      • +1 and agreed to both of you

        Starting maps and getting directions home is just a few taps. Sometimes not the very best planner and assumes a fairly leisurely walking pace (me * 0.6) but still the easiest way to get info on the move. I have a few tips. Maybe I should compile them and tease lh with them as they have been teasing me with google+ tips

  • I emailed Translink (Brisbane Public Transport) back in 2008 asking them to consider sharing the timetable information with Google to make life easier for consumers.

    I only got back a standard form response saying thanks for the feedback.

    I suspect they believe the timetable information is propriety and that they must be the masters of it. Maybe there worried some cool data analysis would show up issues in the timetable?

  • This answer is relatively simple. Google is going to the relevant agencies in Government and requiring them to sign a very restrictive licensing agreement. At the same time, governments are opening up transport data under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence, so that anyone can use it, even Google. However, Google don’t want to receive the data under this licence and appear to be bloody-mindedly sticking to the “Use our licence or we’ll just embarrass you until you do” method of negotiation.

    At the end of the day, Google should practice what it preaches about doing no evil, and wanting to organise the worlds information, being respective of copyrights… and respect the direction that governments are going by adopting open licences.

      • Live in Toowoomba. Just walked home. I’ve never seen a bus route coincide with a journey I’d ever want to take, the taxis are extortionate and there’s no trains. Plus the drivers are a liability so cycling is out.

        So it’s drive or walk. Unless you live in a part of town with no footpath or where you’re likely to be bashed when walking after dark. Then you have to drive…

        …and the way to stop drink-driving is to punish it, yes?
        Stop the incessant suburban sprawl. Instil a sense of urbanity and bring services such as Google’s to Toowoomba and the world will be a better place.

        Define:irony. The only word that Chrome doesn’t recognise in the above is ‘Toowoomba’. Guess we won’t get public transport info here any time soon, eh?

  • adelaide ahead of the times ???
    It’s a sensational thing. My wife is geographically and timetably challenged, so it’s been great for her to get to her lectures on time.

    If only it would integrate and tell her why the bus is running 15 minutes late !!

    • I loved using google maps on my iPhone while i was in adelaide last year, was a life saver, one thing i was wanting though was for it to plot the current location of the bus on the map so i could tell if i could make it to the bus stop in time.

  • IMHO, Sydney timetables on Google Maps would be a waste of time, since 90% of buses and trains in Sydney are never on time.

    I don’t even check timetables any more. I just text the bus stop, or check the platform to see how late I’m going to be.

    • Sydney bus timetables are more fantastic and less frequently updated than Song of Ice and Fire. Maybe they should be nominated for a fantasy fiction award?

  • The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian BA, DIntS, MCom MP is Minister for Transport in NSW – perhaps if we all sent her polite emails expressing a desire for State Transit to open up their timetable data to Google and other developers, that might get the ball rolling?
    This is her email address:
    [email protected]

    Perhaps something like:

    “Dear Minister Berejiklian,

    As a NSW citizen, I am quite disappointed that State Transit has not opened up their transport data to Google and other third-party developers for use in providing transit directions, travel time estimates, smartphone apps and the like. Perth and Adelaide have both made this information available to third parties, even London, with its 270 stations has managed to make this information available! – surely it’s time NSW – “The First State” – caught up with the rest of the 21st century and made this information available, which is an easy (and cheap!) way of improving the public transit system and making it a more accessible and attractive option to users.


    A member of the rate-paying public.”

  • “Spencer”.. Get with the program.
    Check out, the data is available to developers!!
    Has been for some time, trains are relatively easy, Buses still need work , some of that is an equipment issue, much is the more fluid environment they operate in.
    Your letter to the minister may seem like a meaningful request but you lack basic understanding of the issues.
    Comparing the London underground and it’s seperate lines with an interconnected network like Sydney with something like 3 t-4 times the track distances is disingenuous at best.

    “Bazuden” –“since 90% of buses and trains in Sydney are never on time.”
    Not a fan of buses but they are largely a victim of a poorly developed infrastructure, Cityrail on the other hand, even allowing a govenment inspired fudge factor(even before the Mar election) your figures do not hold water.
    My personal experience, I catch 4-6 trains a day. 20-30 a week if more than one of those(excluding pre-announced track work etc) is more than 2-3 min late it is a pretty special occaision.

    • My experience of Sydney buses is that the timetables stop becoming useful if you’re more than a kilometre from the depot, even if the bus leaves on time.

      Also buses that rotate routes based on the timetable often are confused about where they’re going at first (the destination signs are all wrong) and it may take timetable-reading passengers to remind drivers where they should be going. (A frequent problem for buses going from Circular Quay).

  • The really sad thing is that even some of WA’s regional towns (namely Bunbury, Busselton-Dunsborough, Geraldton and Kalgoorlie-Boulder) have their bus networks on Google Transit.

  • For what it’s worth, the CEO of Translink has announced that Brisbane won’t be providing their data to Google, and are instead planning to roll out their own solution integrated with Hastus (

    You can hear his side of the story:

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