Google Maps shows you which cars are crowded on some train lines.
It extends a function that shows you How crowded a local transport line is in 10,000 cities in 100 countries. But it also tests something even more granular: the option to see which cars are most crowded on a given train on New York’s Long Island Railroad and transit routes in Sydney, Australia.
Both of these features can help you avoid more people if you worry about being huddled with many other commuters when you return to work during the pandemic.
The information is displayed when you search for your route. For example, if you were looking for trains from New York Penn Station to Long Island on the Long Island Railroad, you would see data on how full a train is and which cars have the most seats. If it is a railroad that does not yet provide more precise data, you can still see whether the train is overcrowded or not. The feature is now being rolled out to Google Maps users so you may not see it yet.
In the event your workplace is flexible about commuting times, Google says you’re nationwide more likely to get a seat if you travel at 9:00 a.m. than between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. The same applies if you commute from 4pm to 5pm instead at 3pm
According to Google, the data is provided by Long Island Rail Road in New York and Transport for New South Wales in Sydney. More cities will support the open seat function in the future, said Google.