Google just made some urban commuters very happy.
A new real-time train feature in Google Maps will now let commuters in New York City use their smartphones or desktops to see how soon a train will arrive, how much fares cost and how long a trip will take.
Starting Wednesday, Google Map includes real-time train updates for New York's 1,2,3,4,5,6 and S subway lines. Google is using data already available from the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA): It's the same data that currently powers the signs available on certain subway platforms that keep commuters updated on train schedules.
The Wall Street Journal notes that several apps already use the MTA's updates to show real-time train updates of their own; the MTA even launched its own real-time app last December. What you won't find in any of these apps (including Google Maps), are updates across all the city's train lines. As the MTA noted in December, most of the remaining subway lines are a ways off from being able to provide real-time updates because they use a signal system that "dates to the dawn of the subways."
"We want to make sure you have access to the most comprehensive, accurate and useful information when you’re on the go – and that includes public transportation," Soufi Esmaeilzadeh, a partnership development manager with Google, wrote in an official blog post about the new feature.
But the Big Apple isn't the only city where this feature is available. Google is also currently pulling some public transportation data in Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C.
Salt Lake City data includes departure times for buses and trams. While Google's D.C. data doesn't have specifics on train times, the feature offers updates on service delays within the city's Metro system and builds that info into the estimated travel time for the user.
The new feature is available on the desktop version of Google Maps, as well as on the iOS and Android versions of the app.