Google Transit WTF?

One of the great joys of my life is Google Maps. It’s attractive, fast, easy to use, usually gives workable directions, and lets you do cute things like customize your route with a simple drag-and-drop (ooooh).

Plus it’s built in to iPhones now. :D

But… When you’ve gone carless in the big city, the driving directions aren’t always helpful — you want to find the best metro or bus route to take.

There’s a fairly complete online trip planner for Bay Area transit at 511.org, but it fails in every way that Google Maps succeeds — it’s ugly, slow, confusing, and if you want to adjust to an alternate route it’s almost impossible to figure out how.

Google keeps taunting me with a little link on Maps to “take public transit” which never ever is able to find any directions from anywhere to anywhere.

Eventually I discovered that it does give you directions… but only if you put in exact train stations as your start and end points. If I already know which stations I need, I hardly need a transit planner now do I?

Even if it did work, here in San Francisco it includes BART but not MUNI, which has more in-town rail lines and about a hojillion buses and thus is far more likely to be what I’d take.

Update 2008-05-08: It actually works now!

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