Citymapper Is Trialling a Smart Bus Service in London

By Tom Pritchard on at

Say what you like about London, you have to admit that the public transport infrastructure is pretty decent (if a bit cramped). But it could always be better, and Citymapper (yes, the app) are working on creating smart vehicles to service a society that keeps adding 'smart' in front of things.

For those of you who don't know, Citymapper is an app that connects to local public transport databases all over the world, showing real-time information about buses, trains, taxis, and the like, alongside a journey planner that can get you where you need to go nice and quickly.

This week the London-based startup will trialling a experimental 'popup' circular bus route. It's free to use, and will involve Citymapper's own green buses. Green is probably just the colour, though, I can't see anything about what these buses are powered by. Probably the same stuff that powers the rest of London's bus system.

Citymapper will be built into the buses, with big screens displaying the vehicle's position in real time (similar to how the app works). They'll also be fitted with USB charging ports, and because it's built into Citymapper's servers you'll be able to see an accurate picture of how busy everything is. On third party transport services, Citymapper has to guess based on historical data. It's an educated guess, but a guess none the less. But don't get any grand ideas of autonomous bus services just yet. These buses are driven by regular human beings. No word on whether they have free Wi-Fi either.

The whole purpose to better analyse how people are travelling, and ensure that routes can evolve and adapt to meet commuter needs. Citymapper believes that people need more responsive buses that can match needs in realtime, and improve the bus experience. If the trial is successful it'll likely spread out into other areas of London, and possibly into other big cities

The service starts tomorrow around the Temple and Blackfriars area, following the route dubbed CMX1:

It's not a very big route, but this is only a trial after all. It's not that clear when the trial ends, but if you're in London tomorrow and Wednesday it might be worth checking out. It is, after all, a free ride on the bus. [Citymapper via Venturebeat]