APP OF THE WEEK: Citymapper
Commute with ease using Citymapper.
What is Citymapper?
If you live in a city and haven’t used Citymapper yet, you’ve probably been nagged by friends who are convinced it’s the best way to plan a journey. Such a task can usually involve a bewildering amount of apps, from National Rail, to Uber, and although Google Maps offers a great way of collating all the available travel options, Citymapper might just have it beat in that department.
Right now, in the UK, the app covers London, Birmingham, and Manchester, but there are numerous cities around the world with Citymapper coverage, and new locations are being added all the time. If you are a city-dweller yet to try the app, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Why is Citymapper becoming so popular among city-based travellers? Put simply, it makes getting around really really easy. As soon as the app loads it presents you with a search field, helpfully titled ‘Get Me Somewhere’. Below that, you’ve got ‘Get Me Home’ and ‘Get Me to Work’, which, once you’ve saved both destinations in the app, will provide quick options for getting to either place. What’s more, the app will send you push notifications each morning before you leave for work, telling you the best route. These notifications update as you move, and can be incredibly useful.
Once you tell the app where you want to go, it will present you with all-manner of travel options, listed by type. Starting with suggested routes, the list then breaks down your options by bus only, tube/rail only, rain safe, and a Citymapper labs sections which combines cabs with public transport to cut your journey time down.
It’s all easy and fast and works just as you’d expect, with the Material Design layout making the interface intuitive and simple to get to grips with.
And that’s just the beginning. You can swipe right from the home screen to bring up an overview of the city’s transport, showing you the status of the available transit options. In London you can get a quick look at the status of each tube line, rail delays, river boats, trams, and updates from the TfL twitter accounts. Very useful!
And if you want a quick update on nearby transport you can swipe left from the home screen to see the nearest bus stops, tube stations, and rail stations. It’s all designed to keep you as informed as possible.
The app does a fantastic job of collating all the relevant information, eliminating the need to switch between seven different apps just to plan one journey across the city. It also works with Android Wear just in case you were worried it wasn’t useful enough already.
Want more features? How about the ability to quickly tell people where to meet you with the ‘Meet Me Somewhere’ functionality, a basic calorie counter, step by step updates as you move through your journey which mean you don’t have to keep switching back to the app itself, real-time updates on travel delays, the ability to save places easily, and the fact that the whole thing is completely free.
The developers are also adding new locations all the time. Overseas you’ll get Citymapper coverage for an ever-increasing list of cities. Here’s all the locations covered by the app at the time of writing: Brussels, Paris, Randstad, Hamburg, Lyon, Berlin, Milan, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Lisbon, ?????-?????????, Montréal, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, DC - Baltimore, Chicago, Vancouver, Seattle, SF Bay Area, Los Angeles, Seoul, México DF, São Paulo, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Melbourne, Sydney.
You might run into problems if your bus is on a diversion, and the app is obviously only designed to work in big cities. Turning off the notifications is a bit confusing at first too. You have to go into the actual smart commute section and tap on the notification button on your preferred route, rather than there being an overall Settings option in the main menu. But other than that, there’s nothing negative to say about Citymapper. It’s no wonder the app has won numerous awards.
Free, incredibly useful, well-designed, and expanding into new cities all the time, Citymapper might just replace Google Maps as your go-to journey planner, if it hasn't already.
Score: 9 | Price: Free | In-app purchases? No | Download Citymapper