Metro Tech

Google Implements Real-Time Subway Data, Destroying Another Excuse for Brunch Tardiness

Caveat: the app doesn't work in the subway.
Don't lose this. (Photo: Hashgram)

Don’t lose this. (Photo: Hashgram)

Expect a marked drop in “running 15 late sorrrrrrryyyy don’t hate meee :(” texts thanks to a new feature on Google Maps that shows real-time travel updates on its desktop and mobile products.

Google is getting timelier information by pulling from the MTA’s open data program. However the improved intel is only available for numbered lines (sans the 7) and the Times Square Shuttle thus far. If you are dependent on perpetually infuriating lettered trains like, for example, the C, you are out of luck.

Riders can now view when the next train will arrive, trip duration, and arguably the most servicey feature of all: telling users of any delays or cancellations.

The updated data on Google Maps is the same info riders see on the (occasionally accurate) countdown clocks on subway platforms. Before incorporating open data from the MTA, Google Maps based its estimates on scheduled departure times rather real-time information.

Of course, Google isn’t the first company to use the data (apps such as Roadify, and NextStop have used it for awhile), but the Wall Street Journal calls it “the biggest endorsement yet” for the agency’s open data experiment.

Google Maps manager (and self-proclaimed subway rider) Soufi Esmaeilzadeh wrote in a blog post that they want you (personally!) to have “access to the most comprehensive, accurate, and useful information.” Thanks, girl!  Similar travel information is now available in Washington, D.C. and Salt Lake City, the post explained.

Now that our travel routine has been revolutionized, when is GOOG the Beneficent gonna gift us with more underground Wifi?

Follow Jordan Valinsky on Twitter or via RSS.