Bing Maps gets public transit directions

mapMicrosoft has begun adding public-transportation directions to its Bing Maps service, with directions available initially in 11 metropolitan areas in North America.

“Transit options are available for bus, subway, light rail, and local rail,” Brian Hendricks, an associate product manager for Bing Maps, said in a blog post yesterday.

The areas covered in the initial release are Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Vancouver.

The addition helps the service match a feature available already in Google Maps, Bing Maps’ primary rival. Online mapping is increasing in importance, not just as a way for people to figure out how to get from one place to another, but also as a way for online mapping companies to profit through locally relevant advertising.

And with mobile devices increasing in importance and capability, online maps are becoming useful for navigating while en route, not just in advance.