Directions are one of the biggest features in Google Maps and for good reason. Even better than the plain directions that show you the way from A to B are directions that tell you what to use to get there. Public transport routes and schedules are a great way of helping users plan even a small trip across town.
But schedules don't always conform to reality. In some places, Google provides real-time tracking data for busses, trains and so on, so users will know exactly where they are, not only where they're supposed to be or when they're supposed to arrive.
It's not just busses running late that affects schedules, planned service changes can ruin your plans. In New York at least, though, Google is now making sure that these changes don't take anyone by surprise.
"Have you ever arrived at a subway platform only to find that the train you intended to take is skipping stops, rerouted on another line, or isn't running at all due to scheduled maintenance?," Google's Csaba Garay wrote
"Now when you click on any of the 468 New York City subway stations labeled on Google Maps, you’ll see whether any planned service changes are expected to affect that station at the time. In addition, the relevant alerts will be included in the step-by-step transit directions pointing you wherever you’re going," he said.
The feature is available in Google Maps (the website) now, but, crucially, also in the mobile app, for Android at least. When you're on the go, you'll be notified if the route you're planning will be affected by service changes. If that's the case, you can choose from any of the alternative routes Google suggests or simply use another departure time.