Monday, September 24, 2012

Google Maps adds bus support in Japan

About the last thing that Navitime had over Google Maps was bus support in Japan. Not any more. Google just announced a very impressively long lists of bus companies with routes immediately included in transit results. Bus routes are already available in the Android app.

Readers from Tokyo should be familiar with this bus route.
I tested this out with a search that many of you will likely make in the future - the route to the main Tokyo immigration bureau. I was purposely vague. I didn't specify that I wanted to leave from Shinagawa Station, and I didn't input that I specifically wanted to go to the immigration office in nearby Konan. I wonder if iOS 6 would have sent me to an immigration office in Berlin?

It works flawlessly. Both the starting point and destination were correctly resolved. The Android version of google maps has matured. A lot.

When first released in Japan, the Google Maps app would produce very strange results if the language was set to English. This was due to the linking of language and locale, which Google still does. It is not possible to separate them on an Android handset. This means if your language is US English, then your locale is set to the USA. Searching for places using Kanji would produce interesting results. The only work around was to set the locale to Japan, and they only way to do that was to set the language to Japanese. While that's fine for me, for many that would be a real problem.

Fortunately Google has made some backend changes that cause searches in Japanese to work as expected, even if the locale is not set to Japan.

Screen shots from the Docomo ht-03a. Man has android come a long way.
There are 49 companies in total. Below I've listed the companies in just the Kanto region, but Kansai is also extensively covered. After than, coverage is limited to areas around Nagoya, Hiroshima, and Fukuoka.

In Kanto, off all the major companies, of the top of my head I only notice Tobu Bus missing (東武バス).
  • Asahi Bus Group(朝日自動車)
  • Odakyu Bus(小田急バス)
  • Kanagawa Central Bus Group(神奈川中央交通)
    • Shonan Kanako Bus(湘南神奈交バス)
    •  Tsukui Kanako Bus(津久井神奈交バス)
    • Yokohama Kanako Bus(横浜神奈交バス)
    • Sagami Kanako Bus(相模神奈交バス)
    • Fujisawa Kanako Bus(藤沢神奈交バス)
  • Kawasaki City Bus(川崎市営バス)
  • Kawasaki Tsurumi Rinko Bus(川崎鶴見臨港バス)
  • Kanto Bus(関東バス)
  • Keikyu Bus(京急バス)
    • Yokohama Keikyu Bus(横浜京急バス)
    • Shonan Keikyu Bus(湘南京急バス)
  • Keisei Bus(京成バス)
    • Matsudo Shin-Keisei Bus(松戸新京成バス)
    • Narashino Shin-Keisei Bus(習志野新京成バス)
    • Funabashi Shin-Keisei Bus(船橋新京成バス)
    • Keisei Town Bus(京成タウンバス)
  • Keio Bus(京王バス)
    • Keio Bus South
    • Keio Bus Central
    • Keio Bus Koganei
    • Keio Dentetsu Bus
  • Kokusai Kogyo Bus(国際興業バス)
  • Kominato Bus(小湊鐵道)
  • Nishi Tokyo Bus(西東京バス)
  • Seibu Bus(西武バス)
  • Tachikawa Bus and City Bus Tachikawa(立川バス((シティバス立川(を含む))
  • Tokyo City Bus including Tama(都営バス((23区、都バス多摩(を含む))
  • Tokyo Bay City Transit(東京ベイシティ交通)
  • Tokyu Bus(東急バス)
  • Yokohama City Bus(横浜市営バス)

1 comment:

  1. was pleasantly surprised by this yesterday when I had to take the bus... unfortunately only noticed it until I had already worked out the routing and scheduling on the horrible tobus transit site in tokyo ~__~