Google provides online transit guides for more than a dozen U.S. cities including Dallas and San Diego. Now it may take on the biggest.New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New Jersey Transit, which together carry more than 9 million people a day, are working with the company to give users one place to go for maps, schedules and trip planners. The agencies serve the five New York City boroughs and suburbs in New Jersey, Connecticut, Westchester County and Long Island.
Google, based in Mountain View, California, introduced its online guides in 2005. They are designed to show transit users how to navigate systems, and to boost Google's revenue from selling ads to restaurants, hotels and other local businesses.U.S. companies spent about $922 million last year to place ads alongside local searches and maps, according to Kelsey Group Inc., a market research firm in Princeton, New Jersey. That will almost triple to $2.61 billion by 2011, the researcher says.Google probably got about $500 million in sales last year from local ads, or about 8 percent of its U.S. revenue of $6 billion, said Greg Sterling, an analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence in San Francisco.New Jersey Transit plans to share maps and schedules with Google as part of a pilot program to post more information about the system on the Web.
The company's shares rose $2.81 to $515 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. Google's stock has climbed 12 percent this year.The metropolitan New York market would be the biggest and most complicated Google has tried to crack with its online guide. The New York MTA had 8.27 million daily riders as of Dec. 31 and runs the city's subway and buses and the Long Island and Metro- North railroads, the busiest U.S. commuter lines. The system has 468 subway stations, 35 fewer than in all other U.S. cities combined.
New Jersey Transit, the largest statewide public transportation system in the U.S., carries about 857,000 passengers daily on buses, commuter trains and light-rail lines.
With the Google Transit online trip planner, a user enters a start and end address or landmark and gets automated directions, including schedules and transfer points. Some agencies, including New York's MTA and New Jersey Transit, have trip planners on their own Web sites, as does HopStop.com Inc., a New York company started in 2004 that offers planners for cities including New York, Boston and Chicago.Travelers may be more inclined to get directions from Google because they already use its other mapping services, rather than trying to navigate local transit Web sites.