New Delhi: Anyone who’s commuted in Delhi knows it’s nothing to blink at. Hour long traffic jams, choking fumes and an endless sea of cyclists, pedestrians, motorbikes, panhandlers, buses, cows, cars and carts make getting around India’s sprawling capital a challenge for even the best equipped. So when the first section of the Delhi metro opened in December 2002, it was hailed by residents as a welcome step towards a pleasant commute.
That being said, even with the construction of the metro, a city as big and ever changing as Delhi makes figuring out how to get from point A to B without asking several passersby (most of whom are likely to be as confused as you are) a challenge – particularly for tourists or those new to the city. That’s why Google Transit, a partnership between Google and Delhi Metro comes as a welcome announcement.
Google Maps will now provide not just driving directions, but also metro schedules and routes, offering detailed information on which metro lines to take, what time trains leave, where to switch, what the cost of the commute is, how long it the trip will take, and what services – whether these be ATMs, coffee shops or bars – are near a designated metro station. Google Transit will be available for free on data enabled mobile phones.
The service will continue to be updated as the Delhi Metro updates its information. The Google/DMRC partnership comes at a good time, given that Delhi expects a surge of tourism surrounding the Commonwealth Games in October.
Google has also launched the service in an experimental manner in Kolkata, as well as parts of Chennai and Hyderabad and has expressed an interest in partnering with multiple agencies in various regions. “If there are agencies out there who feel this service is useful, all they need to do is contact us and give us their data about routes and schedules,” says to Manik Gupta, product manager for Google Maps in India.
To get a sense of how commuters can use Google Transit, Mint asked Gupta to walk us through the service. Watch the above video.