Setting a Departure Time on Google Maps for Orientation and Mobility

When planning an Orientation and Mobility trip with a student, it is essential to consider which type of transportation that they would like to take (Read about route planning). When planning on using the city bus or train, the Google Maps app is extremely helpful. In most areas, especially metropolitan areas, the Google maps app allows users to set departure times. This is helpful when route planning because a majority of the time trip planning is done in advance. With that in mind, it is helpful to use the departure times feature.

  1. Open the Google Maps app.
  2. At the top of the screen, tap and enter the address or name of the public destination that you want to travel to (View tips for riding a bus).
  3. On the bottom left side of the screen, tap on the directions button.
  4. Across the top of the directions page, you will see transportation options just below the Your Location and destination search bars. Swipe left or right through the transportation options until you see the transit icon.
  5. Just below the transit options, you will see “Depart at…”.  Tap on “Depart at…”, and adjust the time that you wish to depart. Use the Picker Item to choose the date and time that you would like to depart for your trip, then tap Done.  
  6. In the same area where you see “Depart at…”, you will see the word OPTIONS on the right side. Tap Options to bring up a list of Route Options that currently include Preferred Modes of travel (Bus, Train, Subway) and Route Options (Best Route, Few Transfers, Less Walking, Wheelchair Accessible). You can customize the aforementioned options as you wish.
  7. When you return to the directions page, you will see a list of travel route options. Tap on the desired option. On the next page you will see a detailed list of instructions for your trip. If you tap on the up/down arrows next to a set of travel instructions, the list will expand showing more details of the stops after your pickup location. If you tap on the first set of instructions that have a small arrow pointing to the right beside it, a list of bus departure times will show up.  For example, when you tap on the bus departure time, you can access all of the times and locations that bus stops before and after your pickup time. The same applies to train directions.  
  8. At the bottom of the directions page, you have the option to add the route to the Calendar app on iOS or to Google Calendar. You also have the option to Add a Google Maps reminder. Here you have the option to toggle on a reminder to leave on time as well as an option to set a transfer reminder.  
  9. At the very bottom of the directions page you can tap on the contact information for the transit agency (website and phone number).

Empowering our students (and clients) to strive for independence is one of the most important points for transition. For more Google Maps app travel tips and tricks, check out the following video:

Do you have any tips for helping your students and/or clients use digital maps in a more independent way?  Please share below.


Posted by AJAug 21, 2018

I'm using the Google Maps app on Android and it doesn't seem to have the "Depart at..." feature. The web site does, but not the app.

Posted by MikeAug 23, 2018

What if you're driving? This option is available on website but not app, and can't use website when app is already installed.

Posted by RVSep 11, 2018

Apparently the Depart At feature is disabled if you have an interim destination in your routing...unfortunate.

Posted by Tom LHSep 12, 2018

Agree. It only seems to exist on the browser version. Absurd

Posted by ShamSep 12, 2018

Is there a fix for this? Or, is it possible to use Google Maps website on phone through Chrome without it automatically opening the app?

Posted by AlNov 01, 2018

Android phone google map does not have options for setting up start time or arrive time on driving mode! BIG DRAWBACK!
I thought Google apps were the best.

Posted by Alison Nov 11, 2018

I need depart by/arrive by for car not transit on the app. Please can anyone help TIA

Posted by MarkNov 12, 2018

Open maps on an incognito page and it will stay on the browser version.
This allows you to change the start time.

Posted by DougDec 06, 2018

This does not work for the app. Period.

Posted by EHDec 19, 2018

Sort this out Google. It's ridiculous. I'm trying to work out how long a certain journey will take on a Sunday morning, but it's Wednesday morning and I'm getting rush hour timings. So impossible to plan my journey at the weekend. Thanks for that.

Posted by paradigmJan 14, 2019

It does, it's just not where they said... In the app currently, once you hit the directions button after searching for your destination, it'll show the route on the map, at the top it will say something like "your location" and then under it your destination.  Next to "your location" there is three dots.  Click those and you'll be able to set the depart and arrive time