Many people have been traveling less frequently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even so, going out of the house is essential at times. In those instances, tools like Google Maps are extremely valuable since they allow you to know where you’re going and provide information on that location ahead of time.
Now, Google is rolling out several new features that will make Maps even more helpful. Users will now be able to pay for parking and public transportation directly from the app.
The features help decrease the need to touch public surfaces and make getting around even easier.
The days of dropping coins in a parking meter are long gone in most places. Public parking in cities and even smaller towns has largely shifted to smart parking meters that let people pay with a credit card or connected app.
Google’s latest integration for Maps capitalizes on this trend. It works with parking meters managed by Passport and ParkMobile, two of the most popular companies in the space. When a driver parks in a public spot or lot, they can tap the “Pay for Parking” button. Google says that the new option will automatically appear as you get close to your destination.
Once you arrive, simply enter the meter number or spot number, the desired amount of time, and pay. The feature works with Google Pay, making the entire process as seamless as possible.
It also allows users to add more time to the meter remotely if they need to extend their parking session. That’s extremely convenient if you’ve walked far away from your car or are wrapping up your errands and can’t get back before the meter is set to expire.
As noted, the new pay-to-park feature is perfect for the pandemic since it negates the need to touch a dirty public meter.
Google says that the feature will be available to Maps users in more than 400 U.S. cities. It is rolling out to Android devices first, but iOS gadgets won’t be far behind.
Although you might not associate Google Maps with public transit, the app will soon be more useful for those riding the subway or metro. Many don’t realize that you can search for directions in Google Maps using public transit routes.
Starting now, doing so will provide you with the option to purchase ride tickets directly in the app. Google notes that the new feature works with more than 80 transit agencies around the world. Just like paying for parking in the app, users will need a Google Pay account to buy their transit tickets through Maps. When it’s time to board, you can simply tap your phone on the ticket reader.
This is much more convenient than bouncing back and forth between multiple apps while trying to plan your trip. It’s even better if you aren’t sure where you’re going yet and need to purchase tickets for each leg of the trip separately.
It’s worth noting that the ability to pay for transit in-app isn’t available quite yet. However, Google will be rolling the feature out to Android users “in the coming weeks.” There’s no word of when or if it will be available for iOS devices.