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Get public transit directions with just a few clicks

Drivers, move over. While MapQuest, Google, and Yahoo have cornered the market on online driving directions, there was a lack of good sites for those preferring to get around by public transportation or on foot. At last, though, we car-less travelers are now getting our due.

For those of you living in Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, or Washington, D.C. (or are visiting anytime soon), I've got a new website to add to your favorites list: HopStop.com. This useful online tool provides directions for non-drivers, including subway and bus point-to-point directions and maps. There are walking directions too, for those who want to get a little exercise and explore the city by foot.

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I used HopStop this weekend while in New York, to head from my sister's apartment in Jersey City to an art fair in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. It provided easy and accurate directions in a flash, and got us there without a hitch.

The best way to take advantage of this site's many features is to play around. Advanced search features include choices of how many transfers you'd like, maximum distance to walk, and choice of specific bus or subway lines. You can also search for directions to and from a specific attraction, restaurant, or venue. There's an "itineraries" section where you can plan multiple-stop trips. Many cities have commuter lines stretching miles outside the city proper, and HopStop includes these outlying communities as well.

Perhaps most impressive is that you can register with the site and get directions on the go, downloaded to your cell phone or PDA. As someone who gets lost easily (even in my home city), this can be a great time-saving perk. Here's hoping they expand to even more cities in the near future.

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