If you’ve ever worried that your taxi driver might be trying to take advantage of you by taking a more scenic route to your destination than you’d like, then you’ll have a new tool at your disposal to keep him or her in check: Google Maps. Well, you could always use Google Maps or any navigation app to make sure taxi drivers choose the shortest route possible, but the newest feature Google is testing for Maps actually does the work for you, telling you if the driver goes off-route in an attempt to rack up a higher fare.
The feature is especially useful in cities you don’t know, but also at home, allowing you to get live updates on your route. Google Maps will send an alert to your phone every time you’re off-route by 500 meters, xda-developers explains. Moreover, your route will not be rerouted automatically, which is what happens when deviating from your route while using Google Maps for regular navigation. That’s because the feature will help you stick to your chosen route rather than continuously adapting it.
Once you start receiving the alerts, you should notify the driver that you’re aware of the changes he or she made, and ask to revert to the shortest route possible. It’s unlikely they’ll try to cheat again once it’s clear you’re keeping tabs on the journey. And don’t believe them when they say that traffic is the reason for the detour unless you can verify it with Google Maps, which should give you an idea of what traffic to expect on your route — check the screenshots below:
The feature, which has been spotted in India, can also be helpful when you’re doing the driving, to make sure that you stick to whatever route is fastest. However, it’s not exactly something you should use because Google Maps will try to get you back on track every time you make an unexpected turn.
It’s unclear whether the feature will be available in other markets or when it’ll launch. You’ll want to be on the lookout for new Maps buttons that says Stay safer and Get off-route alerts in the navigation menu to take advantage of it, as seen in the images above.