Transit App is flexing. The Montreal-based startup that takes on industry heavyweights like Google Maps and Apple Maps is launching a new feature in 55 cities across the US, Canada, France, Italy, UK, Germany and Australia.
The announcement came Friday via Transit App’s Medium account.
The startup feels it simply creates better maps than Apple and Google, pointing out what if felt were inefficiencies within Google and Apple’s design.
Apple is notorious for taking a long time to add new transit to their maps. They only launched in a few cities, and release new markets very slowly.
How about Google? They definitely don’t hand-draw their transit maps. Like us, they generate them automatically using algorithms. However, they look… well… kinda dreadful. (Sorry Sergey). Google often gets lazy, simply connecting transit stations with straight lines.
In the post, Transit App said it wanted “the prettiness of Apple’s slow solution, but the scalability of Google’s automatic process. In short, we wanted algorithms to draw beautiful transit maps.”
While Google does things well at scale, argued the startup, some of its drawings lacked a smooth finish. “Subways don’t actually travel in violent, jagged paths,” they rather humerously wrote. Apple Maps draws them nicer, but they “aren’t as smooth as ours.”
Transit App argued that if a trip spans different agencies, Google and Apple’s single-agency maps will often let you down. “There are multiple ways to get across your city, but you wouldn’t know it if you looked at a typical transit map.”
But surely Google Maps offers modality with all the TTC’s subway lines, bus routes and street car routes, or, for example, all of CITSO’s routes that are independent of the STM.
Still, Transit App wrote that “instead of making you juggle multiple maps, we’re creating a transit map that integrates every rail and rapid transit network in your city. That includes subways, commuter rail, light rail, trams, streetcars, cable cars, gondolas, and even bus rapid transit.”
Some well-known Twitter profiles were quick to share and comment on the well-written post.
i think it's cool that you can take one thing (drawing transit maps) & a small team and decide to beat google at it https://t.co/xDHTArK639
— Julia Evans (@b0rk) July 23, 2016
— Jürgen Siebert (@jr_siebert) July 24, 2016
— Michael Bierut (@michaelbierut) July 24, 2016
Along with the service for 55 new cities, the cocksure Transit App team said it will add improvements to its transit map designs. That means support for regular buses, better station labels, thinner highways, and transit-friendly points of interest.