Google Goes Hawaiian

Honolulu’s acclaimed bus system, TheBus, is about to get even better. The sharp minds at Google Labs have chosen Honolulu as one of five metro areas to test its new Google Transit system. Take the simple coolness of Google Maps, merge it with bus routes and timetables, and you have an easy way to look up how to get around O‘ahu on the cheap. You get a map and a step-by-step itinerary for easy printing and reference.

Here’s a write-up in the Star-Bulletin, noting that Google Transit is a work in progress and is constantly being tweaked. TheBus spokeswoman Michelle Kennedy notes the latest feature addition: a calculator that compares how much a trip costs on TheBus versus how much it would cost to drive. Want to get from downtown Honolulu to Aoki’s Shave Ice in Haleiwa? It’ll cost you $2 on TheBus, $13.52 driving!

Very cool. I knew they were working on it, but as with most things, I figured we wouldn’t see it for a year, at best. Now I can’t stop playing with it! Here’s how to get from Waikiki to Chinatown, from Manoa Marketplace to Anna Millers, or from the airport to Kailua Beach. Whee!

Now all the city needs to do is connect up its GPS system so we can track the actual buses.

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