So I was wandering around Google Maps, minding my own business. Well, actually I was looking for a business that recycles computer printers and monitors. One location was Fulton and Arden Way and I wanted to see if I recognized the location.
I'm looking at the hybrid map -- the aerial photo with the street names overlayed -- and I notice little blue bus stop icons.
Huh? Bus stop icons?
OK. This is cool.
Now, I wouldn't take the icons literally. The northbound stop on Fulton isn't really in the center of the street. And the icons don't work at all resolutions. If you get too close to the ground or too far away they disappear.
But the real magic comes when you click on one of the icons. Up pops a list of the next time a bus is scheduled to depart this location.
This is real cool.
So I then went to Watt and El Camino to see what the map can do with a stop served by more than one bus. And, sure enough, when you click on the icon you get the times for all of the buses that stop there.
You can even do the same thing with light rail stops. Here's the 23rd Street stop on the inbound side.
Below is an animated image showing how Google Maps and Google Transit illustrate the 65th Street transit center bus stop.
This, of course, only works if you are on the corner with your wireless PDA or in a nearby office wondering about the bus schedule. For trip planning, go to google.com/transit. Enter the starting address (2100 Q -- you don't need street or avenue) or intersection (21 & Q format) and sacramento (or Fair Oaks, etc.) and the destination address and city. You can set the arrival or departure time. The default is departing soon after the current time.
Assuming all went well and Google Transit found the addresses, you'll see several options, including a handy link to find out how to drive to the same location.
For my comparison of Sacramento Regional Transit's Web scheduling service and Google Transit, see this post.