Today is one of my first real tests with this whole car-less life style I’ve recently adopted. Up until now, when I’ve gone out it’s been either to work (40 minute walk each way, or a 15 minute bus ride when I just can’t or don’t want to take the time), or out to a movie or dinner all of which I seem to end up doing in the downtown/Old Montreal area and I never bothered trying to drive to those locations anyway since finding parking there is just a huge headache.
But today, I am meeting friends at a café located way, way in the west end of the city. Since it’s way too far to walk (my favourite mode of transport in winter) I’ve only ever driven there or, in summer, taken my bike. It’s raining today, and cold, plus my bikes haven’t been fixed up for riding after their winter hibernation, so it’s public transit for me. I’m still a novice at the intricacies of the MTL public transit system, so had no idea how to find out how to get there.
But I just discovered the coolest thing! I started out the way I usually go about finding directions to anyplace I want to go to: I added the cafe to my address book, pulled it up on my iPhone, tapped the address, and the google maps application automatically opened and identified the café’s location on the map. I tapped the “directions” button at the bottom of the screen, added my current location (though I could have let the app find me and add it automatically), and driving directions were automatically generated. Just follow the purple line a la Harold). Handy if you have a car…
Necessity is the mother of invention, or attention, because it’s only this morning that I noticed that once directions are generated, three icons appear at the top of the screen: a car, a bus, and walking figure. Ah ha!
I tapped the bus and 4 possible public transportation routes showed up. A little clock icon also appeared, and when I tapped that, I discovered I can generate directions based on either the time I want to leave my current location or on when I want to arrive at the destination I’ve selected. Since I’m more concerned about when I get there than I am with when I leave here, I entered the time I want to arrive, and PRESTO! 4 optional routes via MTL’s public transit system presented themselves. I picked the quickest route, and up popped a new purple path highlighting the bus route numbers and metro stops. When my visit is over and it’s time to go, I’ll just reverse current and destination addresses and follow the purple path right up to my door.
I have NO idea how I got from point A to point B before the iPHone and google apps, but I know friends and family will tell you I tended to get lost an awful lot. Don’t think that’ll happen today.
I love this iPhone, and I love google apps!