Most transit maps of Bay Area and City transit systems suck.
Some are misleading. It seems like everyone that moves to San Francisco checks out the Muni service map (warning, large GIF file) and responds with joy! “Wow, look at how comprehensive the public transit is in the City!” The map does not express, however, the ridiculous infrequency with which these lines operate.
Most maps don’t provide relevant information for users of the system. The BART map simply lists locations and routes. It’s such a sparse map at present. Couldn’t more useful information also be included?
And, nearly all Bay Area transit maps are system specific. While we can all understand the bureaucratic separation between transit operators, we must have reached the point in societal evolution that we can realize people use more than one transit system to reach their destination (obviously not).
Here is where dedicated geniuses come forward. The SF Cityscape website features a number of transit maps designed with the user in mind, not the transit agency. Wow, what a concept!
Here are my two favorite:
- A BART map that also includes travel time and fare from your current location. What a simple concept! It’s so much more useful than the current maps which just show location.
- A Bay Area rail transit map which includes Muni, BART, CalTrain, VTA and a few others.
Of course, 511.org never fails to impress me with its ability to provide accurate, transit operator agnostic guides for taking public transit. (Click Transit > TakeTransit Trip Planner.) Try it out if you’ve never seen it.