Google Maps has started showing its users information about how full the Prague metro and other means of public transport means are, and whether seats are likely to be available. The service relies on input from the public.
The new feature is called Obsazenost spoje (Occupancy Connections) “The function has been available to Czech users since last Thursday (June 27),” Google communications manager Alžběta Houzarová said in a press release.
As it was just introduced, so far the information is a bit sparse for most lines. On a smartphone, four standing figures are shown, and shaded darker to show whether the particular vehicle is crowded, similar to a star rating for films or restaurants. Google also has launched a similar service in Brno, South Moravia.
Current information will come directly from travelers who have chosen to share it on Google Maps. Google will automatically ask them if they were riding this route and how busy it was. It uses not only up-to-date data, but also historical traffic data.
The service is combined with information from public transit organizer Prague Integrated Transit (PID) for both Prague and Central Bohemia, which began to be used in January.
With the PID data, the map should be able to show exact connections, transfers, departure times, delays including current interruptions and detours, and more. The price of tickets is also shown. But it does not show if trams are air-conditioned or not.
Information from online sources should always be taken with caution, and no app can take into account unforeseen circumstances. Crowd-sourced apps also only work if people participate.
Google Maps recently in the US state of Colorado offered people a detour to Denver International Airport, to avoid a traffic jam on the regular route. Unfortunately the detour was a dirt road suitable only for four-wheel-drive vehicles, and wet weather made it worse. Hundreds of drivers found themselves stuck in the mud between other trapped vehicles and were unable to go forward or back.
Google said that the road was not listed as private property, and nobody had reported it as being closed.