The Best Transport Apps

By Tom Pritchard on at

You may have noticed that this week is Transport Week here on Giz UK and like Comic Book Week we're going to skip the usual apps round-up in favour of sharing the best and brightest transport apps out there. There's plenty to see, and hopefully they'll make your life an awful lot easier.

Citymapper (Android, iOS)

The big name in transport apps, covering pretty much every possible way you can get from A to B that isn't your own car. Provided you're going through Manchester, Birmingham, London, and other select cities across the world. It's got buses, bikes, underground/trams, trains, ferries, Uber, taxis, and even walking. Plus it has real-time information from transport authorities to help you find out if there are any delays (or when your bus is coming), the best routes to take, and a journey planner. [Free]

Moovit (Android, iOS, Windows)

Similar to Citymapper, but this one only focuses on public transport. No walking, no taxis, no nothing. It's also available in an extra five UK cities (Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, and Sheffield). Plus is offers more biking options, rather than sticking with London's Boris/Santander bikes. So if you're in Bath, Belfast, or Glasgow you can find your nearest bike station and go for a ride. The main deal here, though, is that you get live notifications about what's going on with the local public transport, so you know which routes you need to get and when it's actually going to get to wherever you are. [Free]

Taxi Apps

Nowadays you don't have to grab a black cab from the street, or rely on the same minicab company you always use because they put a card through your letterbox. There are plenty of apps that let you grab a ride, whether it's a proper taxi or just some guy in his car. They're all basically the same, though. You book a ride on your phone, it turns up, and you tend to pay in-app via credit card. There are plenty of options out there, including Uber, Kabbee, Hailo, and Gett. They're not universally available, and mostly stick to the big cities.

National Rail Enquiries (AndroidiOSWindows)

Travelling by train? This app has all the information you need to make your journey go smoothly, from the time you book it to the time your train rolls into the final destination. It has full timetables for every train journey rolling across the UK, disruption alerts, the option to track an individual train's progress, and more. It even has the option to let you buy train tickets, without any pesky booking fees. [Free]

App in the Air (Android, iOS, Windows)

This one is for making sure your air travel goes as smooth as possible. You probably don't fly that often, but it's still a legit method of transport, right? App in the Air is designed as your own personal flying assistant, with all the information you need to get to the departure gate on time without stressing out about the whole thing. It offers updates on any changes to your flight (available offline via SMS), a reminder when online check-in opens so you get the best seats, and guides to the biggest airports across the planet. [Free]

The Trainline (Android, iOS, Windows)

If National Rail isn't to your liking, there's always The Trainline. It's best known for selling tickets, but there's also all the stuff you need to keep track of train journeys going on across the UK. You can see live arrival and departure times, track the train you're planning to catch in real-time (including seeing what platform it'll pull into), and basic information about stations. [Free]

Santander Cycles (Android, iOS)

London is known for many things, and among them are the Boris bikes. Well, Santander Cycles are the official term but the nickname has stuck. Who need a bike of your own when you can risk your life in London traffic using one owned by TfL? I kid. Cycling isn't dangerous unless you're an idiot, but you can't always have a bike of your own. This app lets you skip the terminal at each docking station, get your unlock code much faster, and pay by credit card without having to go anywhere else. It also has a journey planner, and a way to find your nearest docking station. [Free]

Waze (Android, iOS, Windows)

Mapping apps are all well and good, but they don't do so well with traffic jams. Those pesky things that ruin your perfectly timed commute. Waze can help you out, by drawing real-time data from other Waze users and other sources to keep you up to date on any pesky jams. Basically, it constantly checks your current route against the data available, and keeps recalculating to help you get there as fast as is currently possible. [Free]

UK Bus Checker (AndroidiOS, Windows)

Travelling by bus? It sucks waiting at those bus stops doesn't it? Especially with those pesky timetables that may or may not be there. So download the app, which will keep you up to date on when the next lot of buses will roll right on past you. It's got full coverage of routes all over the country, service alerts, a tube map and a journey planner that covers buses, trains, the tube, and everything else. [Free/£2.99]

National Express Coach (Android, iOS)

Forget the trains. Forget flying, Heck, forget driving. If you need to get across the country and don't want to pay as much money then a coach is the way to go. Provided you're willing to sit in a box full of other people for three times longer, that is. The official National Express app lets you book tickets, and see all the arrival and departure times for coaches across the country. A bit like a lot of other apps here, but for coaches instead. Nothing overly special, but it gets the job done. [Free]

Eurostar Trains (Android, iOS)

Heading to France? Why bother with the airport when you can get the train instead? Provided you live within reasonable proximity to London and are heading in the general direction of Paris, the Eurostar is the ideal way to go. It's your go-to place for finding seats and booking tickets, and then once you're on board connecting to the in-journey Wi-Fi and entertainment.

Unfortunately this app is only for the Eurostar train, I couldn't find any official apps for the Eurotunnel train that lets you take your car along for the ride. [Free]