Google has launched a public transport route planner, allowing local users of its maps to easily get directions to their destinations. Google Transit service is a component of Google Maps and has over one million transit stops mapped in hundreds of cities. It links up map service directions with public transport routes and ensures specific bus schedules are marked.
On the map, matatus, their specific stages, routes, numbers, schedules and up-to-date fare information will be stated. This will help create order in the disorganised transport system in Nairobi.
“Time is a limited resource and launching Google Transit in Nairobi is part of our effort to make Google Maps more comprehensive, accurate and useful for residents,” said Charles Murito, Google’s country manager for Kenya.
Google Transit is available on Google Maps in the web browser, as well as Google Maps for mobile on Android and Apple Play store platforms.
Kenya is now the first country in the East African region, and the seventh country on the continent, to have its transit information included in the new Google Maps feature.
“Roughly 3.5 million people depend on matatus every day in Nairobi but have little information on the over 130 different routes. Providing this information on Google increases accessibility to the transit system,” said Sarah Williams of the Digital Matatus Team.
After the collapse of Google’s BebaPay, which was the first card payment option for matatus, the tech giant has increased concentration on other revenue options in the industry.
Earlier this month, Safaricom and Google joined hands to launch the application Waze, which offers motorists access to accurate and real-time traffic information, based on crowd-sourced data from other road users.
It uses a Global Positioning System technology to collect traffic information varying from accidents, impassable routes, traffic jams and advises on alternative routes.