Menu and design updates improve Metro.net usability

At first glance, visitors to Metro’s website may not notice that some major changes have taken place to improve their user experience. Metro has updated its global navigation and overall site design to present information more clearly, no matter how you access metro.net.

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How to use the Google Maps to plan a transit trip

There was a question posed on Twitter yesterday: is there an interactive map of the Metro system to help plan trips?

The answer: Google Maps, which has both a desktop and mobile version. Both are easy to learn. They’re not bombproof, but I’ve found Google Maps is generally pretty accurate and the most popular trip planner among Metro’s riders — the reason there was some unhappiness among our riders last week when Metro bus and train info temporarily didn’t show up on Google Maps due to a technical glitch.

That was fixed earlier this week. And the timing is good: there’s also a new version of Google Maps available for desktop computers. It’s not a radical makeover, but has a cleaner appearance than earlier versions.

Many of you likely know this already, but I thought I would run through it for new riders or those who haven’t used the Google tools before. Here’s how to use both the desktop and mobile versions as an interactive trip planner:

1. Go to Google Maps on your web browser at https://maps.google.com/ if you’re on a desktop. If on a smartphone, download the Google Maps app for either Android or iPhone.

2. If using the desktop version, Google Maps will take an educated guess at your current location according to your computer’s IP address; if you want a different location, just type it in the search bar at the top left corner of the screen.

On the mobile version, click on the arrow at the bottom right corner of your screen to get your current location. Then double tap to zoom in.

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Google Transit once again showing Metro bus and train routes

And they're back! Google Transit appears to be showing Metro bus and rail routes once again.

A technical glitch dating to last week had resulted in Metro being dropped from the popular Google Transit tool, meaning some of our riders were getting some very interesting and often out-of-the-way advice when trying to plan their transit trips.

Thanks everyone for their patience!


Metro data outage on Google Transit should be resolved soon, according to Google

As some of our riders may have noticed, Google Transit is still not displaying Metro bus and rail service. The problem dates to last week and involves an issue with the transfer of data from Metro to Google.

Google provided Metro with an update on Monday morning and said they are working to resolve the problem — and it should be resolved very soon.

In the meantime, we appreciate your patience. To help you get around in the meantime, you can contact Metro at 323.GO.METRO (323.466.3876) and speak with an agent who can assist you with your travel needs, or you can visit Metro.net and use Trip Planner.

In the meantime, we also urge you to take current recommendations from Google Transit with a grain of salt. Here's a 3.5-hour trip it just provided me between my current location (L.A. Union Station) and downtown Long Beach:

 

Metro transit info currently not available on Google Transit

More than a few people have noticed that Google Transit hasn’t been showing Metro transit info lately. Metro routinely sends Google revised data concerning routes and schedules, and the process of updating data is mostly automated.

In this case, there was a transfer failure and Google is working to correct the problem. It is anticipated that they will have Metro’s transit info available again by next Monday, August 26, if not before.

To help you get around in the meantime, you can contact Metro at 323.GO.METRO (323.466.3876) and speak with an agent who can assist you with your travel needs, or you can visit Metro.net and use Trip Planner.

Poll results thus far: transit riders mixed on whether Google Glass should be allowed aboard buses and trains

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Above are the results thus far of our unscientific (as always) poll on how transit riders feel about other transit riders wearing Google Glass in the future with some of the comments below.

Thus far, the results are very mixed and indicate that Google Glass may have a little work to do in the marketing department. I’ll keep the poll open for those interested in this topic and haven’t voted yet.

Also, from our original post:

Here’s a fun story in last week’s New Yorker about one of those testers and his experiences. As the story explains, having the functions of a smartphone sitting on your face (for lack of a better term) is very different animal than having the functions of a smartphone in your hand or pocket.

As the article also notes, some establishments have already banned Google Glass because they don’t want users surreptitiously taking photos through glasses either for legal reasons (an art gallery may not own the rights to the art it displays) or for the sake of their clientele (patrons at a bar, for example).

Take our poll: how do you feel about fellow transit riders wearing Google Glass?

Google Glass. Photo by Antonio Zugaldia, via Flickr creative commons.

In recent months, I’ve been reading with increasing curiosity about Google Glass, the glasses developed by Google which allow users to view the internet and take photos and videos. They are not on the market yet, but Google has been providing them to some members of the public for test runs.

Here’s a fun story in last week’s New Yorker about one of those testers and his experiences. As the story explains, having the functions of a smartphone sitting on your face (for lack of a better term) is very different animal than having the functions of a smartphone in your hand or pocket.

As the article also notes, some establishments have already banned Google Glass because they don’t want users surreptitiously taking photos through glasses either for legal reasons (an art gallery may not own the rights to the art it displays) or for the sake of their clientele (patrons at a bar, for example).

If Google Glass becomes popular, I’m curious about how transit riders view the devices. Are they just another cool gadget building on the advances of smartphones? Or do you think they’re overly obtrusive and a violation of whatever privacy you have left when riding public transport?

Take the poll and feel free to comment please; one comment per customer please.