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TTC and Google show the way

In Canada on October 13, 2010 at 02:54
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TTC and Google show the way

October 12, 2010

Curtis Rush


Toronto Mayor David Miller, left, and TTC chair Adam Giambrone at the Google announcement Tuesday that the Google transit trip planner now includes TTC schedules for all bus, streetcar and subway routes. (Oct. 12, 2010)

Curtis Rush/Toronto Star

Who knew you could take the TTC from Pearson International Airport to a downtown office?

Well, even if you did, many international travellers don’t.

That’s why the Toronto Transit Commission is excited about the new partnership they have forged with Google on Google’s new transit planning feature.

At a demonstration on Tuesday at the Google offices in Toronto, reporters were shown a real live case, showing that people can even take a virtual tour using Google’s satellite functionality, too.

Google official Jessica Wei landed at about 6 a.m. from the United States and took the TTC to the downtown Google offices on Dundas St. E. at Yonge St.

The trip took three legs (bus No. 192 and two subway lines), and a six-minute walk, but she arrived in about an hour, paying only the $3 fare. A cab trip would have cost about $60.

The trip planner ( includes TTC schedules for all bus, streetcar and subway routes and all this is available on your mobile devices.

With Google Transit, transit users can now plan their trips around the GTA by TTC, GO Transit and York Region Transit.

This trip planner complements the TTC’s own Internet Trip Planner, according to TTC chair Adam Giambrone, who was on hand for the announcement, along with Mayor David Miller.

The TTC trip planner, which was launched earlier this year, complements the new Google planner, Giambrone said.

“There are advantages and disadvantages to each,” he said at the news conference. “Google doesn’t customize. They’re dealing with an international platform.”

Google also provides this information in more than 50 languages.

Although the Google planner is great for international travellers, it doesn’t have the specific tools that the TTC trip planner contains, such as accessibility for wheelchair access.

For many people, you might want to use both, Giambrone said.

Google’s Wei said the map functionality will become more “optimized” with time so that, for instance, you won’t get off at College subway station when you should have got off at Dundas if that’s closer to your destination.

“I wouldn’t say it’s not accurate,” Wei said. “Just not optimized. It just needs a little fine-tuning, but that’s common in any kind of Google transit launch.”

The TTC chair said this new Google tool will help make travelling on the TTC less imposing for people who don’t know the city that well.

“We know that as people get more information, they feel more comfortable using the system and that increases ridership,” Giambrone said. “This improves access for visitors at no cost to the TTC.”

The TTC also announced Tuesday that real-time data for next streetcar arrival information is available free and real-time data for all bus routes will be available in 2011.

In the coming weeks, the TTC will roll out visual screens at TTC entrances before you pay your fare that will show any real-time delays.


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