I’ve spent the last weeks being dependent on ride-sharing services and New York public transportation. Using Google Maps has made navigating the combination of trains, subways and buses much easier than in the past. I just needed to type in where I wanted to go and I got a series of choices on how to get there, taking into consideration schedules, connection times and even delays.
The more I used Google Maps, I began to realize that while the directions it provided were the fastest or most efficient way to get from one place to another, they might not be the way I wanted to go. Maybe I want to use a station I’m familiar with or I might not want to go and try to hunt down a bus stop in an unfamiliar neighborhood at 11PM.
Finally, I found a way to tweak the settings that put me more in control of the results.
As an example, say you’re staying at JFK and want to travel to Times Square for the evening. Google Maps will get you there, taking a bus to the subway.
But what if you don’t want to take a bus? That’s where the Options page is a lifesaver. Somehow, I never paid attention to it until this trip.
You can toggle the settings to tell the map to only provide directions using the modes of transport you want. The most helpful thing for me was the Connecting Modes tab. This lets you add Ride Services as part of your travels.
Listed below the directions telling you to take a bus to the train to the subway, there’s now a listing for Mixed Modes which gives directions for taking a Lyft to the subway station. I prefer that second option, which falls under my rule of spending a few extra dollars when traveling if it will make my life easier.
The ability to select a route with fewest transfers or the least amount of walking gives the user a way to force Google Maps to display options that meet their travel preferences. I was glad that I stumbled across the options page while fooling around with the app. Hopefully, this hint will help you customize your directions from Google Maps to better match your travel style.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary