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An alert Metro customer recently wrote the agency with a salient question: why don’t the new Eastside Gold Line stations appear on Google Transit, the popular trip planner?
If you want to see an example of what the customer means, look close at the above map. The Gold Line is there and the stations are listed in the itinerary on the left side of the page. But the map makes it appear that the only option for passengers is to leap from the train. This is not so!
The explanation of the problem, from a Metro tech official:
“As Google Transit is a partnership between various transit agencies and Google, Metro routinely sends Google revised data concerning our routes and schedules, including new lines. While the process of updating data is mostly automated, the task of adding station icons (tiles) is still manually done by a developer on Google’s part.”
Officials also say there could be a delay of several months before the stations are added and such delays are expected by Metro. If you’d like to give some feedback directly to Google, click here.
I spent some time playing around with Google Transit this afternoon and while most of the time it acknowledges that the new Gold Line exists, there are a few times it gets finicky. For example, when I asked for at trip from Union Station to the East Los Angeles Civic Center, the planner first gave me three options.
Option 1: take the subway to Metro Center and transfer to a bus and then walk 11 minutes to the Civic Center for a trip time of 50 minutes.
Option 2: take a Metrolink train to Cal State L.A. and transfer to a bus and then walk 12 minutes to the Civic Center for a 45-minute trip.
Option 3: take the Eastside Gold Line, which drops passengers off right in front of the Civic Center for a 25-minute trip.
The problem is that Google Transit doesn’t seem to like the phrase “East Los Angeles Civic Center” — and this is a type of problem that all trip planners suffer until adjustments are made. In the case of Google Transit, it seems to perform best when given exact street locations or intersections.
A confession: for reasons unclear to me, I find myself entertained by tales of trip planners go awry. So if you’ve got a story of a trip planner that has done you wrong, email it over to email@example.com.