Google Maps is bringing bike-sharing station information to global markets from today, more than a year after first debuting the feature in New York City.
Google introduced an integration with Citi Bike in the Big Apple last April, showing travelers the nearest bike-sharing station and revealing how many bikes are currently available. Now, the internet giant is expanding the integrations to dozens of markets across the Americas, Asia, and Europe — this is due to a new real-time bike-share data feed gleaned via a partnership with ITO World.
From this week, on Android and iOS, riders will be able to locate their nearest bike-sharing station in 23 new cities, though more will be added shortly: Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Chicago, Dublin, Hamburg, Helsinki, Kaohsiung, London, Los Angeles, Lyon, Madrid, Mexico City, Montreal, New Taipei City, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco Bay Area, São Paulo, Toronto, Vienna, Warsaw, and Zurich.
How it works
Riders search for a specific bike-share service in their city, for example “Santander cycle hire” in London, and Google Maps will show where the nearest stations are and whether there are any bikes available. Alternatively, it is also a useful tool to establish whether there are empty spaces available to drop off a bike.
This “multi-modal” embrace is part of a growing trend in the transport app realm, as cities open up to new ways of moving around. Ride-hailing giant Uber already shows real-time public transit data directly inside its app, for example, while a few months back Microsoft, Moovit, and TomTom teamed up for a new multi-modal transport platform.
It’s worth noting here that Google Maps has sported an integration with Lime’s bike and scooter service for a while, but this latest rollout is specifically about cities’ fixed-location bike-share stations, rather than dockless “floating” transport alternatives such as Lime.