Google is using its mass of data to try and tell Google Maps passengers how busy their chosen method of public transport is going to be at any given time.
They’re also adding information on traffic to more areas, meaning you should be able to see just how doomed your morning commute is, no matter what way you decide to travel.
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Chances are you’ve already seen a similar trick: Google will tell you in Google Maps if the restaurant or bar you’re heading to is busy or not. And the implementation here will be very similar.
For now, this feature will be popping up for public transport routes in major cities around the world, providing information for both busses and trains. In the UK, it’s launching today in Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, Crawley, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, Reading, Sheffield and Southampton. However, more than 200 cities around the world are getting the nod in this first roll out, with details appearing on both the Android and iOS versions of Google Maps.
You don’t need to do anything to see it, either. Just plan your route in Google Maps and then hit the public transport tab, same as you usually would. It’ll tell you how busy your route is. It’s not clear if you need to update Google Maps for it to work, but there’s probably no harm in grabbing the latest version first, before travel.
Expect to see this rolled out in more and more places over the next few months, bringing commuting anxiety to the masses. However, for those of you with the flexibility to choose when you get somewhere, this is going to be a useful option for letting you pick your moment to have a smooth and hassle-free journey.