Posts Tagged ‘Google Maps’

Now Google Maps is right, but MBTA Trip Planner is still wrong

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Brief mention in the Boston Globe

Friday, July 31st, 2009

From “MBTA announces latest arrival: Google mapping tool for riders“:

But not everyone at yesterday’s news conference was trumpeting the partnership. Jonathan Kamens, 39, of Brighton said Google Maps’s public transit routes are faulty because they rely on schedules provided by the MBTA, which are sometimes wrong.

Kamens, a software engineer, said his complaints to T officials have gone unaddressed for years, which drove him to pass out fliers questioning the deal.

Lisa Rivera, a spokeswoman for the MBTA, said that the authority was unaware of his complaints but that officials would look into them.

“We have an extensive planning and scheduling department and employees who are constantly updating our system,’’ she said.

It’s unfortunate that the reporter said I am concerned about inaccurate “schedules,” when in fact that I am concerned about inaccurate routes, which is a rather more serious problem.  If the schedule’s wrong, then you might have to wait longer than expected for a bus, but if the route is wrong, then the bus you’re waiting for might never show up.

MBTA Transit Police threaten to arrest me for distributing flyers to reporters at Google Transit press conference

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

As planned, I went to South Station about a half hour before the press conference scheduled to announce that Boston (finally!) had been added to Google Transit.  Upon arrival, I started talking to reporters and handing out flyers.

I was quickly confronted by Daniel Dombak, a Marketing Director for Equity Office (which manages South Station), and informed that I was on private property and couldn’t distribute flyers without a permit.

“Are you going to arrest me and drag me out of the station for handing out flyers to reporters?” I asked him.

“No, of course we’re not going to drag you out of the building,” he responded, but in fact that’s exactly what he intended to do.

A few minutes later, a Transit Police officer approached me and informed me that I was not allowed to distribute written materials on MBTA property without a permit.  We went back and forth for several rounds with me trying to get her to explain in plain English what would happen if I continued to distribute flyers.  She finally claimed that yes, if I continued to distribute the flyers after being asked to stop, I would be arrested.  The police officer, against whom I have no complaint because she was just doing her job, informed me that of course I could talk to reporters as much as I wanted; I just couldn’t hand them pieces of paper.


MBTA routes are now in Google Maps, but they’re still wrong!

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

MBTA route information has just become available in Google Maps (both Web-based and Google Maps Mobile).  Google and the MBTA are planning on formally debuting it at a press conference at South Station in an hour or so.

I checked, and the data that the MBTA gave to Google has the same errors I’ve been complaining to the T about for over six years.

Since South Station is a short walk from where I work, I’ll be paying a visit and handing out this flyer to any reporters I find there:

Ride the T with Google

(click for PDF)

If I’m lucky maybe I’ll even get to shout out a question to Dan Graubaskas and ask what he’s planning on doing about the fact that the routes given out by Google Maps are wrong because of incorrect data provided by the T.

MBTA customer service continues to excel (not!)

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

T_sucksLast year, when I complained in writing to the T about receiving no response to the email messages I’d sent through their “Write to the Top” program, I received a response from Kevin McGuire telling me that if I continued to have this problem, I should contact James Monahan at a specific email address or telephone number.

On July 10, I emailed Monahan at the address McGuire gave me to complain about the fact that John Houghton, the superintendent of the Cabot Bus Garage, had not responded to complaints I’d sent on July 6, 7, and 9.

My email message to Monahan bounced with “User unknown”.  I can’t say I was surprised.