Last week, Google launched a public transportation search engine to rival HopStop. HopStop is my main source of information when I am trying to figure out how to go from one part of the city to another; Google is simply not as good… yet.
HopStop not only calculates the quickest route from one locale to another, it provides information on travel preference — by subway/rail only, bus only, a combination of both, or on foot. There is an option to select more street-walking with fewer transfers, or vice versa. The best part about HopStop is that it is up to date with transit delays and takes the time of day into account when calculating travel time. The Taxi Cost/Time link lets one choose if he/she is travelling via yellow cab or car service. Surprisingly, I have found that it is usually correct in its estimates.
The Google search engine runs through Google Maps. Like HopStop, one can choose whether he/she is traveling by car, public transit, or walking. One advantage to Google is that the search allows for a departure or arrival time, and it can also give walking distances in miles or kilometers.
Overall, both search engines are useful, but the true test is whether they are accurate and reliable. While Google only calculates train time and walking time, it does not take into account any delays or waiting times. HopStop does. Because of this, Google doesn’t necessarily make the best assessment. When I am trying to figure out how to get from one place to another, waiting for trains often takes up a significant amount of time. Until Google works that out, I’m sticking with HopStop.