I’ll be honest. I have not heard of Transit until this morning. It has been out on iOS for quite some time and it just got out on Android. Maybe that’s the reason I never came across it.. But boy was I happy to download it.
Transit is built just for public transportation. I live in the Twin Cities (that would be Minneapolis + St. Paul in Minnesota) and I do rely on public transportation a lot. Besides Google maps, I also usually try learning my routes before leaving the house by using Metro Transit’s website. Metro Transit is the transport authority in the Twin Cities and their website is pretty good with precise timetables and route information. But the same can’t be said for their mobile site which is just a pain to use. For some reason you can’t bypass it to see the full site on a mobile device – silly!
I have been trying out Transit and so far am impressed. The app detects your location and instantly notifies you of local transportation options and times. Clicking on a route provides more options to see upcoming times, save it, view full itinerary (!) and directions. The itinerary view is really well done as it shows you on a map which direction the bus is going and the places it will stop at. It also shows where you are relative to the bus stop.
I really like the design of the app as well. Its well thought out by using metro-esque designs. Large color blocks, clear white titles and nifty icons. Beside each route there is a countdown showing how many minutes left till it leaves. Playing with it more I realized that the route color blocks are actually color coded to the transit options. I won’t go into which one was which but they all appropriately showed up as blue, light blue, red, green etc.
Google Maps has public transportation support built in but I can see some clear advantages that make Transit much more useful. This is an app built for public transportation from the ground up and its direct usability is dependant on that. The app does a great job in showing up to date transit information, routes available depending on your location, directions, where it stops and so on. Those can be found out in Google Maps but being a larger package, its not as easy, simple and fun to do so.
Transit is not available everywhere though. As of this write up its available in 43 cities. You can check which cities are supported on their website. One other thing that I found difficulties with was typing in directions. I am used to Google Map’s amazing intuition in figuring out what you meant when you typed a direction. They do a great job in figuring that out based on your location and habits. Transit does not do that as it relies on you typing the full directions and in some cases even state and zip-code.
I still think Transit is an awesome app though that anyone who relies on public transportation should download and try out!
Their website link is http://thetransitapp.com/
I used a Samsung Galaxy Nexus with Android 4.2.2 for this review.