App of the week #17 - London Bus Live Countdown

London Bus Live Countdown app will change the way you travel by bus. Instead of turning up to the bus station then waiting, and waiting... and waiting... simply open this app. You’ll find your nearest bus stop, and you’ll see exactly where each bus is going from that station and the real-time progress for every bus (to see if you still have time to go and grab a coffee meanwhile).

And this is not all. The app will also show you disruptions and diversions, cancellations and events that could affect your journey. This is not just a timetable but the real live data from Transport for London website. Though, surprisingly, after using this app for a while I concluded that it’s much quicker and more accurate than the Tfl website when it comes to bus times.

The app has a clear interface with only three types of page:

Nearby stops - where you’ll see which are the nearest bus stops from your current location. The app will ask for your permission to use your location so you don’t need to enter any address (which is very helpful as sometimes you can get lost and you won’t have a postcode or address). On this page, you’ll be able to see all the buses that go from each bus stop with their routes and which is the best, their live countdown.

Favorites - the app remembers the last screen you visited but you can also add your favorite and most frequented routes to the second screen displayed at the bottom of the app. You can do this simply by clicking the “+” button at the right hand top of the page, when the screen shows you the countdown for a route (see pictures below).

More - here you can check if there are any bus or road disruptions, events that might cause delays to your journey, plan your journey using the TFL journey planner or just send feedback or complain if you notice that something is not working with the app.

Here is why I find this app helpful:

I used this app two weeks ago to get to the airport and although on Tfl the bus was due for 1.15am, there were some delays. I’ve checked on the app, and the bus was in the station at precisely the same minute as announced on London Bus Live app not a minute earlier or later. I believe that it comes handy as well if you missed the last tube, and you’re somewhere in London far away from home having no idea how to get back home (especially as traveling by bus at night is quite complicated).

Two days ago I had to use the app yet another time in an emergency. The underground line I needed to use for going to work was close due to a fire alarm in Camden Town, and I found out this at the last minute. Because I moved into the area recently and I never went to work by bus, I had no idea which was the best bus to take to work or at least to the nearest tube station. Standing in front of the tube station, I clicked “show nearby stations”. In a second, I found the nearest bus station and also which was the bus I needed to take to the nearest tube station. I was in luck because the bus was just in front of me, the bus stop very close, and if I could not check which bus I need to take I would have missed it for sure and probably would have been late for work.

This is a free app and over 200 000 people downloaded it so far. Be the next one to do so because they say it’s one of the best. Let us know what you think!

May 07, 2014