This morning’s Boston Globe features an article that Boston’s MBTA has finally been included on Google Maps Transit.  It apparently took a while to make the MBTA’s trip planning system technologically capable of working with Google.

Google Maps Transit offers an amazing array of locations around the world to search for public transit options, 421 of those locations to be exact.  Google spans the spectrum from large systems such as in San Francisco and New York to places you would not expect, such as Flagstaff, AZ and Norman, OK.

However, those from the New York area, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia may also be familiar with the great site  While hopstop offers far fewer cities in its coverage list the service it offers for each city is far more comprehensive.  Among the features:

  • Point to a location on a map
  • Estimated taxi fare and time
  • Preferences in mode of transportation like subway only or more transfers/less walking
  • Lists of attractions, hotels, restaurants and bars, including rankings of what sites are most searched for.

Google on the other hand tends to offer simply a route as an option compared to walking or driving in its map service.  Overall, I recommend hopstop for the variety of features it covers if you are in one of the cities it is available for.  Google is good, but in reality I think your local transit agency’s website is your best bet over Google because through that site you can learn about the variety of options offered as well as where public transit goes throughout a metropolitan region.

For many cities the streets are still lined with wires hanging above the asphalt, a reminder of the trolleys that squeaked and whistled and clunked down the streets taking residents and commuters throughout the city. Fortunately, many cities have decided to use those old wires or even install new ones to utilize trackless trolleys or trolleybuses. The system is especially prevalent across Europe and the former USSR. (more…)