Posted by Christoph Oehler, Product Manager

It may be back-to-school season, but Google Transit has just graduated from Google Labs! We're excited to say it's now a fully integrated feature in Google Maps. This means that when you look up directions for areas where we have transit coverage you'll now have the option of seeing how to get there using public transportation.

Let's say you live in Mountain View and want to head over to Great America amusement park . What do you do? First, buy some tickets. Then, go to Google Maps to get directions to the arena. You'll notice we kept driving directions as the default, but if you look at the top of the panel, you'll see a new option to 'Take Public Transit.' You can select the time you'd like to depart or arrive (under 'Options') and choose from a few alternate routes. Also, in some areas, we even give you the ability to compare the cost of taking public transit with the cost of driving.

In looking at this example, the answer is pretty clear: public transit is cheaper, probably faster since you know you'll have to sit in some rush-hour traffic if you drive, and, of course, more environmentally friendly.

If you're already an old hand at using Google Transit, don't worry. The main Google Transit page, will still be in place. You can use that page to see which transit agencies are currently within our coverage areas. In the past few weeks alone, we've added Bay Area Rapid Transit (San Francisco Bay Area), Santa Clara (CA) Valley Transportation Authority, and Hampton Roads (VA) Transit - among many others. (If you're going to Japan or China, we've got you covered! ). We're still working hard to make Google Transit useful for as many people as possible, and we'll keep you posted as we add new regions. And if you happen to be a transit agency reading this, you can find out here how to take part.