Photo by buckofive on Flickr.

Google and WMATA signed an agreement on July 22, 2010, to provide the Google Transit service, according to documents obtained via public information request.

WMATA had previously stated that Google Transit was expected to go live in mid-January 2011, more than two years after Greater Greater Washington started a petition campaign to encourage WMATA to allow Google to display transit routing and schedule information.

The agreement appears to be based on the typical Google boilerplate agreement. Google is not paying WMATA for the use of the data, which was one of WMATA’s early sticking points.

The indemnification paragraph from the boilerplate agreement appears to be missing, which means that WMATA would not be held liable for any mistakes caused by Google and did not agree to legally defend Google if they were sued. This was one of WMATA’s biggest objections to signing the boilerplate agreement. We first reported that Chicago was able to remove this indemnification from their agreement.

Either party may terminate the agreement, unlike the boilerplate agreement, which only gives that option to Google. The agreement provides rights to both WMATA and Google where the boilerplate agreement only provides them to Google.

The agreement WMATA got looks like the best they could hope for. It’s balanced and removed the features WMATA found most objectionable. WMATA’s status as one of the largest transit agencies in the country allowed them to negotiate from a better position than most agencies.

I haven’t been able to get an update on the actual Google Transit release date.

Michael Perkins blogs about Metro operations and fares, performance parking, and any other government and economics information he finds on the Web. He lives with his wife and two children in Arlington, Virginia.