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My general question is as listed in the title - does Google Maps have ferry schedules and make use of them in selecting a recommended route?

As a specific example, suppose I'm in Wałbrzych in Poland, and I ask Google Maps to get me to Nykøbing Falster in Denmark, and I want to leave now. For this journey there there are two possible ferries: Rødby-Puttgarten or Gedser-Rostock. To determine the optimal route, Google Maps should estimate how long it will take me to get to Puttgarten and then how long I'll have to wait for the next ferry departure, vs. estimating how long it will take me to get to Rostock and how long I'll have to wait for a ferry departure there. Plus the ferry sailing times and the times from Rødby or Gedser to Nykøbing Falster.

But a calculation like that requires that Google Maps has a database with the ferry schedules. Does it?

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    I tried a crude experiment, plugging those locations into Directions and changing the "depart at" time, and it looks like they don't take into account the actual schedules, and only have routes and approximate durations - it makes no noticable difference to Google's calculations whether you arrive at the ferry terminal at 4pm or 4am... Oct 3, 2017 at 18:04
  • Depends on the location. Here's a route in Japan including ferry times.
    – muru
    Oct 4, 2017 at 3:21
  • Just to clarify: Are you using Google Map's car trip planner or are you trying to plan a trip using public transport? If the question is about car routing, choster's answer is probably wrong. Oct 4, 2017 at 11:16
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo For car navigation. And not for ahead-of-time planning, for on-the-spot "I wanna get home as soon as possible", with unknown start time until after other work is done. (Assuming home = Nykøbing Falster.)
    – RenniePet
    Oct 4, 2017 at 19:15

2 Answers 2

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To be included in Google Maps for trip planning, Google must be able to import its schedule data, for example through a GTFS Static or GTFS Realtime feed. A Google Transit Partner relationship might also be required, however, so simply appearing on TransitFeeds or the like is probably not a reliable guide, or at least less reliable than simply plugging your origin and destination into Google Maps and seeing what results you get.

[edit]

Scandlines operates both the Gedser-Rostock and Puttgarden-Rødby ferries, but the results seem to differ depending on whether you plan the trip as a drive, a walk, or using public transportation. As noted by @Tor-Einar Jarnbjo in comments,

… Google does indeed use GTFS to incorporate route planning for public transport in Google Maps, but the currently supported GTFS version does not distinguish between passenger and car ferries. Without knowing the details, I would expect car ferries to be modeled in Google Maps as roads with a special attribute and not as public transport. Actually, if you plan a trip using public transport, both ferries (Rostock-Gedser and Puttgarden-Rødby) are being known to and used by Google Maps with the correct schedule

Google does incorporate schedule information for, for example, the Staten Island Ferry in New York. You can looking through the list of cities covered to see if it's worth a go.

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  • Thanks, also to @user568458. I should have thought of trying to experiment with the route myself. Interesting information you provide.
    – RenniePet
    Oct 3, 2017 at 18:18
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    I can also say from personal experience Google Maps knows the schedules of the Washington State Ferries, which cross various locations in the Puget Sound dozens of times daily. Oct 3, 2017 at 18:19
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    I understand the question to relate to ferries being used as part of a car trip and if so, I believe your explanation here to be incorrect. Google does indeed use GTFS to incorporate route planning for public transport in Google Maps, but the currently supported GTFS version does not distinguish between passenger and car ferries. Without knowing the details, I would expect car ferries to be modeled in Google Maps as roads with a special attribute and not as public transport. Oct 4, 2017 at 2:17
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    Actually, if you plan a trip using public transport, both ferries (Rostock-Gedser and Puttgarden-Rødby) are being known to and used by Google Maps with the correct schedule. Oct 4, 2017 at 2:26
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo Thanks, that is very useful information. I edited to incorporate it wholesale.
    – choster
    Oct 4, 2017 at 11:55
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It's one thing to include ferry schedules and the time taken for the actual ferry trip. But it's another to include the ferry wait times. That is, the time you have to sit in a queue waiting to get to the toll booth and the ferry holding area. Where I live (Washington State, USA Pacific Northwest) at peak times there can be several hours wait. And there's no reservation system in place for the busy commuter ferries, so you just have to get there early and hope for the best. There are web cameras so you can check how many miles back the holding lines go.

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    This does not really answer the question. If you have a different question, you can ask it by clicking Ask Question. To get notified when this question gets new answers, you can follow this question. Once you have enough reputation, you can also add a bounty to draw more attention to this question. - From Review
    – mlc
    Aug 11, 2022 at 15:04

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