From Land's End to John O'Groats: Google Maps adds UK-wide public transport data


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The Independent Tech

Google has massively expanded the amount of public transport information available for its Maps app in the UK.

The internet giant says they have used publicly available information to add “millions of departure for trains tubes, trams, buses and ferries,” all of which add up to more than “17,000 different routes across the UK”.

"It's a frightening amount of data," David Tattersall, Google's public transport product manager, told the BBC. "It's every single train, bus, tram and ferry right down to the small request stops as well as the major National Express coaches."

The new update covers public transport across England, Scotland and Wales, and includes departure times from National Express and Traveline as well as local operators such as Centro in the Midlands and Merseytravel in the North West.

Traveline, a government-funded partnership between local authorities and transport operators, has offered publicly searchable timetables for years, but only began offering its raw data to other companies three years ago.

Julie Williams, the CEO of Traveline, praised the update, saying: “Not only does this create a great new tool journey planning tool for customers, but it also sends a strong message to other countries across Europe and the world about what can be achieved by Open Data through partnership and a shared vision for a better way of travelling.”

Google is not the first internet company to provide UK-wide transport information, with Nokia’s Here maps offering some of Traveline’s data as well as live train information (compared to Google’s reliance on timetables).

Microsoft’s Bing also offers limited information on UK operators (and is in talks with Traveline to add more) while Apple does not offer any information for public transport.