Bing adds transit trip planning

Bing Maps now offers transit directions. (‘Bout time!) From the Bing Community blog:

Commuters rejoice! Today Bing Maps added transit routing to its directions options. So, for those of you who like to take the bus, subway, or local rail you now can turn to Bing Maps. This is a very important feature for us as public transit grows in popularity and coverage. There are more than 10.7 billion public transit passenger trips per year in the US alone.

In this initial release (i.e. more to come) of Bing Maps transit directions, Bing Maps will cover 11 cities: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC, and Vancouver.

So far, I like. The quick and dirty:

• The itineraries–at least the itineraries I tested–are accurate. (This is not a given, by the way.

• The UI is simple and clear, with some cool features, such as:

• It shows how many minutes you have to make a connection. (Sure, it’s possible to do the math in your head, but it’s nice to have the information called out.)

• It lists the stops before and after your destination stop. This is huge when you’re traveling in an unfamiliar neighborhood or city. (Of course, this feature won’t be necessary when we finally get automated stop announcements, but hey.)

• It lets you send an itinerary to an e-mail address or moblie device. (!!!)

Props to the folks at Microsoft for finally tapping the transit-geek market. (Unlike drivers, we can legally play with our Internet-enabled devices while we travel.)

I’ll report back after I use it in the real world.

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