April 8, 2008

Chicago Transit Authority riders can now plan their trips using the Google Transit™ website, Mayor Richard M. Daley and CTA officials announced today.

Through a new partnership with Google, mapping and directions for CTA bus and rail services are available in 11 languages on the Google Transit™ web site.

"The ease with which people can access information via Google demonstrates the true value of technology -- it makes the world a global community," Daley said at a news conference held at CTA headquarters, 567 W. Lake St.

"Regardless of whether you want to travel three miles or 3,000 miles from home, the tools to plan the most convenient and easiest way to reach your destination is captured all in one space. The CTA is now a part of that global community and offers people the opportunity to choose a more environmentally friendly way to get where they want to go," he said.

Daley was joined by CTA President Ron Huberman and Jim Lecinski, Google™ managing director for the central region, to introduce the new service which is available at maps.google.com/chicagotransit or through a link from the CTA's website at www.transitchicago.com. This initiative expands on Google's popular mapping features and driving instructions to provide useful information for transit riders. Chicago is now the largest U.S. city to offer this service to transit riders, joining Seattle, San Francisco and Portland, OR among others.

"Having CTA service information on the universally familiar Google™ web site allows CTA to reach a broader audience and introduce them to the convenience of public transit at no cost to the agency," said Huberman.

"With Google Transit, travelers can find both driving and public transit information in the same location without visiting multiple web sites. Even existing CTA customers will find the site useful as it complements the RTA trip planner on CTA's home page by providing maps and stop location information," he said.

"We are happy to welcome the second-largest transit agency in the country to Google Transit. The CTA is one of the most recognizable transit systems in the country with the "L" trains traveling throughout the Loop and across the city," said Jim Lecinski, Google's Managing Director of the Central Region, based in Chicago. "Google Maps seeks to provide users with tools to help them explore the world around them--not just virtually, but by equipping them with information that will serve their daily lives, and providing public transit information is an important piece of that."

To access travel information, customers enter an originating address and a destination address. Tabs will allow customers to obtain public transit directions and provide the ability to customize the date and time of the transit trip.

When accessing the public transit data, step-by-step written directions will appear with fare information included. A map of the route represented by icons appears and clicking the icon will display an estimated schedule for the departure of the next train or bus. A link on the Google Transit page will take visitors to CTA's web site at www.transitchicago.com to easily access additional CTA information.

The CTA provided Google with scheduling data and bus stop and rail station locations. CTA is not incurring any costs for the partnership with Google. The partnership provides Google users with more transportation options; integrates valuable local information into Google Maps; and creates opportunities for CTA to reach out to potential riders who may not have realized the availability, cost-effectiveness and convenience of public transit.

Google Transit has information on public transit options for nine countries in 11 languages. In addition, the Google Transit site is accessible for visually-impaired users.

"In February, after the transportation funding crisis had been averted, we held a news conference to talk about next steps the CTA would take to provide better quality services to riders of the system," Daley said.

"One of the things I said was that customers need a better way to get information about the entire system -- its schedules, its routes and its problems. I said the CTA needs to enhance its online information capability.

"The partnership we're announcing today is a good step in that direction. We have a good transit system here and it's getting better. This is exactly the kind of creative thinking and partnering with the private sector we must employ to make sure Chicago has a transit system that provides quality, safe and reliable service into the future," the Mayor said.

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