Melbourne Public Transport Finally Coming To Google Maps

The lack of public transport information on Google Maps for Australia's major cities is a sore point we frequently return to, so it's good to hear that the Victorian government is finally moving forward with plans to make its timetable information available to Google.

The Public Transport Users Association reports that the Victorian Department of Transport has met with Google and that work on adding data for trains, trams and buses is underway. Google Maps already includes basic tram and train stop information, but not detailed timetable data to let you plan journeys.

The reported arrangement doesn't sound ideal, as Google is apparently getting the data as part of a special deal. Ideally, public transport data would be shared in an open format so other providers and app developers could use it. There's also no set launch date. But it's a start.

PTUA


Comments

    YES!! Finally!!!! So excited. I love Google maps on the android and have always been disappointed to see we can't take advantage of the public transport functionality out of it...

    About time! A friend of mine who works in government told me that the reason Metlink have been so reluctant to hand the data over to Google is that, having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars implementing the clunky Journey Planner system and mapping software on its own website, Metlink was determined to show a return on its investment by:

    1) forcing people to use Metlink's website to access the data; and

    2) to stop Google from providing the same service at zero cost and therefore demonstrating what a waste of money the Journey Planner project was.

      just a comment on your claims:
      1) this is a decision taken by the Department of Transport, they own the data not Metlink
      2) when DOT decides to release the data, it should be available to anyone (google, ausways, bing and any developer) - and relating to google, they dont offer a service at zero cost, surely you understand that, yes you don't pay for it, but they make money from public data (via advertising to you and anyone who uses their service)

      Imagine that! A government (dept.) road-blocking progress in order to justify, or obfuscate, its own inefficiency.

      I don't understand how site visits constitute a return on investment? They're not doing advertising on the site so there's no money to be made from keeping the site active. On the other hand, maintaining a site (hosting, administration, etc) is continuing to cost money.

        I guess there are different ways of measuring return on investment. I assume they hope these products will increase patronage or at least improve satisfaction among existing customers. So they might claim that a certain amount of fare revenue is owing to the journey planner. If all the hits suddenly moved to Google Transit it'd be hard to make that claim.

        That said, it seems Metlink themselves aren't opposed to releasing the data. Apparently it's a decision that rests with the Director of Public Transport. Though you can imagine that if the government contributed funding to the Metlink journey planner, they might be reluctant to hand the data over to Google. Particularly if they have to spend more money (albeit perhaps not much) on making the data usable by Google. Though now that a few years have passed it's perhaps not such a great concern.

    So this will make TramTracker out of date? The idea here is a simple Google option to select the journey planner options from the metlink website to make it easy to plan PT journeys. but i hope PT does not hand over consumer information as well.

    With all current android PT apps sucking woefully, this is good news.

      Train Trapper is a good one, has all the features you'd need.

      Tram Hunter is good - it uses the Yarra Trams data feed too.

        was not aware of this app, just installed and looks perfect thanks

          There's an official metlink android app in beta, I find that it works alright.

    Having just moved to Melbourne from Auckland NZ where Google has all the public transport info (what little there was), I'm finding it quite a struggle here. The likes of Offi and the Metlink services don't even begin to compare to the ease of Google Maps. What annoys me most is as Joanne suggested above, it's got to be a political hold up rather then a practical one.

    I still don't understand how MetLink can make this data "private". Surely being it should be a government department and be made available to everyone? It's privatisation gone mad.

    Yeah Perth was one of the first cities in the world to get this feature. Makes a massive difference when you are waiting for a bus or searching for the next one that comes your way in a strange area. There's a comprehensive guide to riding public transport in Perth via your mobile http://www.perthhacks.com/2010/07/best-way-to-ride-perth-public-transport.html

      I was going to say that Perth's public transport system is already on Google maps but someone beat me to it. :-) Go Perth! I really cannot believe that Melbourne's transportation system did not get their act together till now.

    Wow... you mean that Adelaide wasnt the last to get public transport information on Google maps.

    Recently being in Adelaide, the Google Maps integration was indispensable when I had to take an unexpected train trip out of the city.
    -Showed me how to get to the nearest station
    -Showed me which train to get on and when they were running
    -Showed me how to get where I was going once I got off

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