Google Maps is quietly scrapping the public transit timetable explorer, making it harder to plan train and bus trips

Google Maps has quietly ditched its “timetable explorer” feature, which allowed public transit users to quickly compare travel times.

The ability to view total travel times for complicated itineraries with multiple connections was particularly helpful for vacationers or travelers planning new and unfamiliar bus and train journeys.

There is no way to find the fastest or most efficient journey from one destination to another in a day. The search must now be carried out with an exact start or end time, from which Google Maps only presents the user with a narrow selection of public transport.

Google hasn’t said why they removed the feature, which was available on the Google Maps desktop site until earlier this month (it had already been removed from the Google Maps app on mobile).

A commenter on the official Google Maps help forum claims to have been told by the company that the feature has been dropped due to “very limited usage”. This comment was subsequently marked as “Recommended” by a Google Community Support Manager.

I contacted Google to confirm whether or not the feature is back, but received no response.

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Public transport users have taken to social media in dismay, urging the company to reintroduce the feature.

A disappointed Twitter user, display name Livvy, pointed out how Schedule Explorer has enabled car-free holidays in Scotland.

She said: “We used Schedule Explorer for the whole thing[ly] Plan 2 week complex festival and camping trips to Scotland and back home by public transport.”

Others claimed that the decision to make public transport journeys more difficult to plan seemed at odds with Google Maps’ stated goal of helping people reduce carbon emissions by recommending more sustainable travel options.

In response to a Google tweet about a new fuel-efficient driving route feature that the tech giant claims has already “helped save more than an estimated half a million tons of CO2 emissions,” Twitter user Spring Ford wrote: “Cool. Please reactivate the timetable explorer in Google Maps so that users can use public transport more often for complex journeys. This will also help reduce harmful carbon emissions.”

Google is notorious for scrapping useful features and entire products in a short amount of time and with little communication to product users.

The company’s Trips app, which allowed vacationers to quickly and easily create vacation itineraries by combining attractions and restaurants with transportation directions, was dropped in 2019, leaving some travelers who used the app to create entire itineraries from scratch.

Competing trip planning services like Rome2Rio and CityMapper are available, but none yet have a feature that can replace the full functionality of Google’s canceled “Timetable Explorer” feature.

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