Want to get about on public transport? Time to call for a Google
On the El Capitan preview page on Apple’s website, the company says of Maps: “Now arriving. Public transit info”.
“At last”, we wanted to yell. “We’ve been waiting for this for ages, like some kind of tardy bus”. So, soon you’ll be able to view routes for trains, buses and ferries, and how to walk between stations. You’ll be able to get directions on your Mac and transfer them to your iPhone. There is, however, the drawback that on launch only a tiny number of cities is going to be covered. If only there was another major player in technology that had long had a maps solution that was the envy of everyone else, which worked nicely on your Mac, included public transport info, and could send routing information to your iPhone!
If you’ve just yelled “Google Maps” at the top of your lungs, a gold star for you (and apologies to anyone sitting nearby). Yep, Google’s solution does everything Apple’s will, with the advantage it’s far more mature regarding public transport information, and therefore covers way more locations. Right now, you can visit maps.google.co.uk, set a starting point and destination, and define whether you want to walk, drive, or use public transport. With the various tools on offer, you can additionally choose preferred modes of transport, the route type (for example, to minimise walking or transfers), and state when you want to leave or arrive.
Assuming you have a Google account and are signed in, all this information will be find its way over to your iPhone. In the Google Maps app, open the sidebar (via the list-like icon at the left of the search bar), tap Settings, and then choose ‘Maps history’. Select the specific route option you want to go for, and you’ll be on your way. Note that Google Maps for iPhone enables maps to be saved to use when you can’t get online. Hold a finger on the screen to drop a pin, then tap the search bar, scroll down and pick ‘Save offline map’. Pan and zoom the map to suit, then tap Save. After naming the map, it’ll be available from ‘Your places’ in the sidebar – just scroll down to the ‘Offline maps’ section.
Google Maps already does more than what Apple’s Maps update is likely to, so use it instead.