Google Maps Adds Kenyan Public Transit To Its Navigation Feature


Lets imagine that you need to go somewhere either to run an errand, make a delivery or simply visit but you are not too sure on how to get there. If you haven’t been under a rock for the past few years, you know that Google Maps has your back. Just type in your destination and a route will be drawn up for you with handy voice guidance on the turns you need to take. Additionally if you are not necessarily driving , there is a walking option that will give you distance and ETA information.

Google Maps Navigation in Kenya was made accessible to mobile users in Kenya back in 2013. The GPS navigation system provides voice assistance for every turn on the selected route. The navigation tool gets free regular updates from Google Maps therefore uses do not need to manually update their devices.

Sample route from our office to Wilson airport
Sample route from our office to Wilson airport

Now, they have integrated our public transport system into the navigation. You now have the option to view the number of the matatus that ply the route to your destination, the stage to pick the matatu or bus from, the number of stops that they make, approximate time spent at the stops and stage where you will alight from the bus or matatu.

Additionally, for all you Uber users out there, you also get an option to use an Uber with pick up time estimation, time to destination and approximate fare. You can also use the web application on your browser as it will also give you the same information.

This information about the public transit system seems to be coming from Digital Matatus which is a collaboration between Kenyan and American Universities that captured transit data for Nairobi creating a public transit map offering better navigation for people using the public transport system.

This feature seem to be only available in Nairobi currently as trying to find routes in Mombasa does not give results. I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before this is introduced country wide.
This is a wonderful update, cementing Google Maps popularity in the Navigation sector. With other applications like Waze using Google Maps features for faster and accurate navigation which works beautifully, you really do not have an excuse to get lost or become that creepy guy in town who stops everyone for directions.