Metro Closes Doors on Google Transit

WMATA's site no match for web giant's tools

Ever try tracking a Metro or bus trip on Google Transit?  If so, you've probably discovered that the Washington Metro Area's transportation authorities are nowhere to be found. 

According to Greater Greater Washington blogger Michael Perkins, WMATA has decided to close its doors on participation with the site.  WMATA's Director of Customer Service Brett Tyler told Perkins: "Metro staff did explore some possibilities with Google, but ultimately we decided that forming a partnership with Google was not in our best interest from a business perspective." 

Tyler claims that Metro's newly redesigned Web site improves customers' access to information about the Metro system, and that real-time information is available via riders' cell phones or PDAs.

But Perkins argues that, while these tools are quite useful, they're not a substitute for Google Transit. WMATA's Trip Planner doesn't let you explore either your origin or destination neighborhood. It's especially picky in trying to designate the origin or destination, at first asking you to leave off the city and state, then later requesting that you designate what city and state you meant.

Meanwhile, transit agencies in the local area, from Fairfax, Va., Maryland MTA, Alexandria, Va., to Loudoun County, Va., -- as well as around the country in New York, Chicago, Miami and San Francisco, to name a few -- have climbed aboard Google's direction service.

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