I'm planning a trip to the city with one of the best known bridges in the world for customer meetings next week. Part of the planning is logistics around getting to and from airports and hotels.
I don't want to hire a car as it just adds another single vehicle to the commuter chaos and I hate to think what a taxi from SFO to Richmond will cost in rush hour... which leaves me busses and trains (I use public transport whenever I can). The bus didn't really seem like an option but BART will take me pretty much door to door for everywhere I want to go on my trip (the longest walk I've got to look forward is a couple of miles which isn't daunting)
What I love about BART over many cities transport systems is how easy it was to plan a trip. A quick visit to the BART site and I was able to do a web search (including looking up directions to the closest station), download a Windows Mobile version and even set a favorite for Pocket IE so I could check online if I wanted. If I was taking my iPod that's an option as well! The only downside appears to be that Oakland airport isn't that well served but luckily as I couldn't get a flight there at a civilized hour it's not a problem on this trip.
To get walking directions from the station to my hotel I did use Maps.live.com... in this case the driving directions are fine (though sometimes I wish there was an option to optimize for walking from A to B)
I love the fact that these online resources exist, but it's not enough to help get people out of their cars and onto public transport. There needs to be much more of this to make it easy, reliable and predictable for people to easily plan to use public transport.
At home in Redmond I use the busses as often as possible, but I hate the interface - because I don't know the exact location of the bus stop finding where I need to stop and start can be very hit and miss.
There's a real opportunity for the folks at Local.Live.com to really step up and create a mashup of bus and train times, overlay them over their mapping so planning a trip becomes a point and click exercise rather than struggling with a bunch of different services to try and work it out.
I do like the fact that in our local area you can get a rough idea of where the bus actually is but again it would be so much better if it was integrated with a mapping solution so I didn't have to try and work out the closest stop with a transponder!
What's hopeful is that the technology exists - Mashup tools like Popfly and the Silverlight Airlines demo show that smart displays are possible, but what we're waiting for now are the data services to support them and the full circle mashups to consume them and cross the boundaries.