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Any major city worth its salt has a decent public transit system – “decent” meaning “it will usually get you from A to B… hopefully.” Besides being a lifeline for locals, a city subway system is a huge asset to those visiting the area. Subways can be a tourist’s best friend, as most lines have stops at some of the city’s biggest draws (Grand Central Terminal in New York City, or Westminster Abbey in London). Riding the rails is also a great way to hold onto cash that would otherwise be spent on cab fare. But, public transit isn’t without its drawbacks (read: long waits, terrible smells, the constant fear of an attack of the Rodents of Unusual Size). However, the most frustrating part is often the most unavoidable: your fellow passengers. Being packed into a tight space with hungry, tired, cranky people is bound to result in aggravation. However, there are a few universal annoyances that can easily be avoided so you get through your trip without being “that guy.”
Great news! There’s a new iPhone coming out, and better yet, the operating system that will ship on it can also be downloaded for free to those who presently own an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, or iPhone 4S. For travelers, you may be wondering about that new Maps application that Apple has been talking up. If you haven’t heard, the Maps program in iOS 6 has been engineered by Apple (instead of Google, as it previously was). It relies on routing data from Yelp and TomTom, two respectable companies in the travel app universe.
The new Maps application looks better. It’s prettier, and zooming is snappier. Also, Siri can now be used to ask for turn-by-turn directions to points of interests or addresses. But there’s a secret that won’t please urban dwellers: the new Maps app has done away with mass transit routing.
While automotive routing and walking directions are included, Apple has not included routing instructions for buses, trains, or other forms of public transportation. There’s still an icon there, but tapping it will only point you to the App Store, where it will recommend third-party mass transit apps to (hopefully) guide you.
Making matters worse, Google has yet to unveil a standalone Maps app for users to download in the event that they want to use something more akin to what they’re used to. In all likelihood, Google’s holding out just so people who update to iOS 6 realize how good they had it. Or, how good they could have it if they switched the iPhone out for an Android device, which has the most unadulterated, travel-friendly version of Google Maps anywhere on a mobile platform.
When will Apple right this terrible wrong? It’s not saying, but those who rely very heavily on their iPhone to get them places via mass transit should hold off on the iOS 6 update for now. Once you update, you’ll be getting the hamstrung maps, like it or not.
Public transit is a cesspool of bad behavior. A cacophony of headphone music, overheard conversations, and bodily odors that invade our senses. Recently, RATP, Paris’ public transportation company, launched a courtesy campaign to end everyday rudeness in their metro. Images of cartoon donkeys, warthogs, chicken, frogs and even a sloth – each with their own quirky message highlighting mass transit nuisances like loud-talkers, line stallers, litterers, and door holders.
“It’s a cute campaign,” says Karen Fawcett, a 24-year Paris transplant and president of Bonjour Paris, an online guide to the French capital. “Do I think it will change people’s behavior? No.” The RATP conducted a poll to illustrate the need for such a campaign. According to the RATP survey results here are the habits that bothered Parisian commuters the most: Read more
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