The Austin Chronicle

Google Metro

By Daniel Mottola, March 9, 2007, 10:57am, Newsdesk

Getting around town greenly just got a bit easier. Capital Metro has teamed up with Google to roll out a handy dandy public-transit trip planner – just in time for South by Southwest, which itself turned over a new, bright-green leaf this year, going carbon neutral among other eco-reforms. The planner, at, operates almost identically to a Google Maps' driving-directions search, but when you enter your starting point, destination, and desired arrival time, the planner accesses Cap Metro bus schedules and provides you with the best route(s), nearest stop, precise walking instructions once you get off the bus, and detailed estimates of how much time each step will take (similar to the Trip Planner found on Capital Metro's Web site but with maps to help you visualize the trip better). But perhaps its most enlightening feature is the planner's ability to calculate your public-transit trips' cost compared to driving. Google's figure is based on the 44-cents-per-mile IRS operating-cost estimate and doesn't account for tolls, parking fees, or excessive gas-guzzlers. Cap Metro trips currently cost 50 cents (or $1 for an all-day pass). Cap Metro is one of only 10 cities nationwide currently partnering with Google Transit.

During SXSW, Cap Metro is also offering free 'Dillo service throughout Downtown, shuttles to and from the free concerts at Auditorium Shores, and its usual Night Owl routes. If your public-transit plans go awry (warning: the computer's trip-planning software occasionally is a bit off), you can always call Cap Metro's Go-Line for assistance at 474-1200.

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