Google Transit and ‘Dillos

Google Transit and ‘Dillos

Google has been teaming up with public transit authorities around the country; I just read on Austinist that they’ve gotten the Austin Capital Metro database in, so you can now plan your public transit bus trip complete with maps and walking guides. Just in time for SXSW! Awesome! Here’s an example: the route from my hotel to the BlogHer meetup.

Unfortunately they don’t cover Boston for when I get home—good luck with that mess! There are also some caveats for public transit noobs like me. The last time I rode a bus was when I was living as a non-Chinese speaking kid in Taiwan, and I used to memorize routes by landmarks and cross my fingers. I had a few scary (for a kid) adventures, and as a result I have the tendency to over-prepare my travel plans as an adult. So here’s what I learned the hard way as a kid:

  • The return trip may not be the same bus or road
  • There are alternate bus routes. Google Transit just picks what it thinks is the best one, and I’ve noticed small differences in how it picks the starting bus stand on the route. Nothing big.
  • Buses tend to have hours of operation, so best check what they are. I am still looking into this.

Capital Metro, the city transit authority, also runs these free trolleys called the ‘Dillo, which I may ride today to just get a feel for the city if I don’t run into someone first. This is the first time I’ve arrived early enough in a city to explore it. According to this map I grabbed from the hotel lobby, the following Dillo routes seem to cover the nearby area:

  • 470 – Tour the Town – Goes as far north as the university of Texas (21st St), circles the State House along the way, and then comes back down south over the river on Congress Ave to “Spyglass Road”, whatever that is.
  • 450 – Orange ‘Dillo
  • 451 – Silver ‘Dillo
  • 455 – Red ‘Dillo
  • 461 – Gold ‘Dillo
  • 462 – Blue ‘Dillo
  • 463 – Starlight ‘Dillo

So grab the maps and schedules and go for a ride!


  1. tunequest 17 years ago

    I briefly lived in Los Angeles in 2002 and I remember its public transportation system had a website that worked similarly to what Google Transit is doing. It was great because, even though I had a car, I hated driving there. So I only drove when necessary.

    But I’m surprised that this type of thing hasn’t become more widespread in the past 5 years.


  2. Chris P. 17 years ago

    If you’re just messing around Friday, I’d recommend the gold dillo as it cruises both barton springs and the ‘drag’ area (that being Guadalupe between 15th and 22nd(pronounced Guada-LOOP – yes, really – don’t ask why). Consider dropping by the Whole Foods Flagship store at 6th and Lamar, taking a walk around Zilker Park, hanging around the drag, or if you can, getting up into the Hyde Park area of town… (further north than all the dillos run).

  3. Ian Muir 17 years ago

    I didn’t even know that Google Transit exsited. That should be much easier than organizing the awful Austin transit site. It took Kelley and I 20 mintues to figure out how to get to the convention center.

  4. Sarah Lewis 17 years ago

    Thanks for the tip; I’ve been using the Capital Metro site, and this is definitely an improvement!