Soon Google will know everything and own the world. Thursday put them one step closer. The search gurus and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority signed a deal Thursday to make it easier for travelers to use the Web to plan Los Angeles-area trips on Metro buses and trains.
Google Maps will provide routes and schedules for the nearly 200 bus lines and five rail lines that Metro operates within the county. The Web site also provides information on the length of each leg of the journey, traffic data for specific times and days, walking directions to bus stations and transit stops, other points of interest on the route, and even street-level photos.
Metro officials said no other online mapping service puts transit data in the context of so much other useful information.
"We have listened to our customers," Metro CEO Art Leahy said. "As the third largest transportation agency in the United States, it made perfect sense for us to join the Google phenomenon."
Tourists are another target of the service. Nearly 4.7 million international visitors came to Los Angeles last year. Metro officials hope the convenience of the the service will encourage more people to park their cars and take public transportation instead. Currently, an average of 1.5 million people board its bus and rail system every weekday.
Google will provide information on Metro services only. For other transit information, visitors can still go to Metro's own Trip Planner at Metro.net.