12 August 2009

Still a few bugs in the system

Google tells us that we can now use Google Maps to get transit information. "Oh, how nice!" I thought, because WMATA's website isn't always very user friendly and Google Maps usually is.

So I went to the site to give it a try and I picked a pretty darn simple trip: from my office to Silver Spring Stage, which is about 2 1/2 miles, largely up a main road served by about a zillion buses. I typed in the two addresses and got the following:

[my office address], Silver Spring, MD 20910

Travel time: about 46 mins
Showing Trip 1
Walk to 10145 Colesville Rd
About 46 mins

Beta: Use caution – This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths.

1. Head west on [] Ave toward Georgia Ave/US-29 194 ft
2. Turn right at Georgia Ave/US-29 0.1 mi
3. Turn right at Colesville Rd/US-29 0.9 mi
4. Slight right to stay on Colesville Rd/US-29 1.2 mi

Walk to 10145 Colesville Rd
About 46 mins

Hmmmmmm. So I figured it was some kind of little glitch and ran it again using the car option (worked fine) and then ran it again using Public Transit. Apparently, Google wants me to get more exercise, because it still suggests that I walk the 2.3 miles. (And it seems that Google thinks I won't actually make the hike if they tell me how far it is because the total mileage figure doesn't show on the "public transit" results.)

So I tried WMATA. They have a newer, spiffier, prettier website since my last frustrating experience with them. I typed in the office address* and the theater's address and voila! I got three different suggestions, with cost information.**

I wouldn't have thought to go to WMATA's new site without the prompt from the less-than-optimal response from Google Maps.

So - once again - Google has quickly and easily provided me with lots of useful information! Just not in the way they had intended.

*Important trip: Type in only the street address, not the city, state, or zip because that's apparently just TMI and confuses the software.
**WMATA really, really wants us to use SmarTrip cards. One gets a ten-cent discount on the bus fare with a SmarTrip card.

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