It doesn’t matter what city you’re in. Trying to navigate an unfamiliar station is hard, especially when a transfer’s tight: neck crooked, arms upraised, searching for platform signs in a frenzy. Like you’re the protagonist in a bad B-movie zombie flick.
Enter COVID-19, messing things up further: now some agencies are closing entrances, so they have fewer things to clean. These unanticipated closures can make for a long walk to the next entrance — or worse — a missed transfer. So to help riders out, we’ve added bus and rail station entrances to Transit. Now you’ll get routed to the right entrance every time you plan a trip.
We’ve included cities with ‘rona-related station closures like 🌴 Metro Rail (LA) and 🚇 WMATA (DC). But we’ve included a bunch of other cities too:
🗞 MTA Subways (NYC)
🍕 PATH (NY-NJ)
🔬 MBTA (Boston)
🏒 STM (Montréal)
🐲 SL (Stockholm)
💃 Subte (Buenos Aires)
🛠 Port Authority (Pittsburgh)
👀 And more (soon)
How do we do it? The dashboard…
We pull station entrance data from official agency feeds, but we also create the data ourselves — with our own special dashboard™. Throw some very data-vigilant trainspotters, NUMTOTs, and railfans into the mix, and baby, you got a stew goin’:
Using the dashboard, we can edit information about a station’s…
- accessibility (does it allow step-free access? and is it an exit-only, unidirectional, or regular entrance?)
- transfer times (can you transfer trains by walking across the platform? is there a cross-over, cross-under, or elevator involved?)
Not all this data is currently available. But it’s coming.
We also append explanatory text (where available) to explain why an entrance was closed:
More station entrance superpowers…
Okay. Now it’s mid-post. Your drink’s refreshed. Your popcorn’s ready. Seeing the words “Station” + “Entrances” is making your heart thrum like a hummingbird hopped up on espresso. “WHAT COMES NEXT, TRANSIT?!?”
Ooooo-wie! Glad you asked 🍹🍿😎
👉 GO now automatically detects the best entrance
Whether you’re on your local train or traveling somewhere new, tapping “GO” maximizes the success of your trip — giving you step-by-step directions for every leg of your journey. (When to leave your house? When to transfer? When to disembark? GO will tell you.)
Now GO recalibrates station entrances, so if you overshoot one by accident — we’ll automatically reroute you to the next closest one.
👉👉 Elevator or no elevator? Find accessible entrances.
To make it easier for riders who need step-free access, our trip planner automatically routes you to accessible stations. Stations are also tagged as accessible/not accessible on the map. (Turn on accessibility info in the settings to see.)
👉👉👉 Better bikeshare-to-subway connections, with Transit+
If you’re planning on making a multimodal connection, we’ll consider which entrance is closest to a scooter/bikeshare dock, so you aren’t sent on an unnecessarily long goose chase.
Next up: more cities, more data…
In a world where you can easily find every Kentucky Fried Chicken in rural New Brunswick, it’s still deceptively hard to find the location of subway station entrances — even in a big city like New York. Also, unlike the KFCs of beautiful Moncton, millions of people search for station entrances each day to start/end/continue their journeys. Making these entrances easier to find (even just marginally easier!) allays a persistent source of transit confusion.
So we’re working hard to add more stations, more cities, and higher quality data so you get directions to the right entrance wherever you happen to be. Whether it’s making a kamikaze transfer at Penn Station, or escaping Peel Metro without ending up in the shadowlands of the Montreal Underground…
As for what’s next? Better re-stock that popcorn machine…