An eagle-eyed netizen tells me that Google’s Transit service, which allows you to choose “by public transit” when finding directions via Google Maps, has been updated to include route and departure information for the STM’s buses and metro.
For an example, here’s a route by public transit from Fairview Pointe-Claire (where all the anglos hang out, didn’t you know?) to The Gazette’s offices on Ste. Catherine St. downtown. (Et, bien sûr, c’est aussi disponible en français)
The service, which is also available in Vancouver, Ottawa, Fredericton and dozens of U.S. cities, and had previously included AMT train service (which was much easier since there are much fewer departures to put in a database), is effectively a competitor to the STM’s existing Tous Azimuts service, which although revolutionary when it was introduced is now over a decade old and doesn’t meet today’s usability standards. Google Transit is slicker, faster and easier to use.
Like Tous Azimuts, Google Transit suggests alternate routes, says how long they’ll take, and provides the time of departure and arrival of each bus or metro.
This is no simple undertaking. Google requires the transit agency to provide a database of all departures for all routes in a specific format. We’re talking thousands and thousands of departures here.
This might also make other third-party STM trip-planning services obsolete, as Google Maps becomes a must-have application for cellphones.
UPDATE: I’m told by a helpful reader below that this also includes off-island transit networks like the Société de transport de Laval and the AMT-administered CITs, but not the south shore RTL network yet RTL data just went live so it now includes all the networks.
UPDATE (Oct. 29): Google, the STM, STL, RTL and AMT are making the joint announcement today, 10am at Google’s Montreal HQ (1253 McGill College) (Thanks Jean). Google Transit has already been updated to list all the transit agencies in the area (thanks Dumitru).
Expect media coverage of the new service during the evening news. Some technology media are already covering it. UPDATE: more pieces from The Gazette, Branchez-Vous and RadCan. And Tristan Péloquin has some background about this project.