COAST announces the availability of Google Maps-based trip planning!
The Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST) has officially announced that the organization has taken another step forward in making public transit services in the Seacoast easier than ever to understand and use. COAST has partnered with Google to include its bus system information in Google Transit.
When someone browses Google Maps (www.google.com/maps - the most popular online mapping website in the world), they are now also able to view COAST public transit information. Bus stop icons now (or will soon) appear on the map and the “Public Transit” link appears as a search alternative (to driving) when searching for directions within COAST’s 11 community service area. Rad Nichols, COAST’s Executive Director, stated, “We are very excited about the increase in exposure that Google Transit will provide.”
Jeremy LaRose, Manager of Operations & Planning at COAST, led the project for COAST. It involved creating thousands of lines of code. According to LaRose, “We chose to work with Google Transit because it has the potential to be a huge advantage for people who have difficulty understanding how to use the bus - and it is a free service for our
organization and the taxpayers that support us.” He continued, “We are working closely with UNH Wildcat Transit, and we hope in the very near future their
public transit information will also be available.”
Figuring out how to use COAST services has never been easier. With internet access (at home, school, the library or on your smart phone) Google Transit allows you to conveniently plan your trips throughout COAST’s service area. You simply enter your origin and destination, the date and time you want to arrive at your destination (or depart from your origin). The online trip planner will provide the next 3 available options, showing details such as the amount of time the trip will take, walking directions to where to catch the bus, bus route(s) utilized, transfers and the cost of the trip, so that the most convenient trip can be selected. “Just yesterday, and with my smart phone, I used Google Transit to help a customer who wanted to go from a C&J bus to downtown Portsmouth by public transit. The search was easy and fast, and the directions it provided were simple to follow”, commented Nichols.
Google Maps gives users a tremendous amount of useful information for trip planning throughout the seacoast, including local business listings, street-level views, and now COAST public transit data. Jessica Wei, Strategic Partner Development Manager at Google, declared, “As a part of Google’s commitment to develop useful public-private partnerships, we are pleased to welcome COAST to Google Transit. This partnership shows COAST’s commitment to innovating, serving their riders, and attracting new riders.”
The planning staffs at the Strafford Regional Planning Commission and Rockingham Planning Commission were critical to the implementation of this project. The planning
commissions provided invaluable assistance in associating geographic coordinates with all of COAST’s bus stops and routes.
“Taking another look at COAST (and public transit) just got that much easier for potential new passengers,” remarked Nichols. “With Google Transit we have helped to remove a hurdle for folks trying to use public transit – figuring out the bus schedule.”
The Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST) has provided public transit service to the Seacoast New Hampshire region since 1982. This year alone it is estimated that COAST passengers have saved over $460,000 in household gas expenses and kept over 3.4 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere by using public transit. COAST is a public, non-profit transit system that relies primarily on federal and local government support to operate. For complete information on routes, schedules, service, and the new easy to use Google transit trip planner, visit their web site at www.coastbus.org.