Nowadays, the digital revolution appears to have reached such a pique that it seems you can get an app (for smartphone and/ or handheld device) for the purpose of, well, pretty much anything. By way of example, should you be looking to visit London any time soon, there’s a selection of fine applications on the market – many of them are free, in fact – that’ll ensure your journey ‘Underground’ is as quick, simple and stress-free as possible…
Free to download (as is every app listed in this article; unless otherwise stated), this app’s simply an obvious choice for both regular Tube travellers and first-timers to London’s subterranean transport network. Enabling you to personalise settings to the extent that you can make sure you’re notified of delays or urgent news about certain Tube lines, it’s an effective customisable digital offering, but also does the basics with bells on – it provides a full up-to-the-minute status for every line with a live departures board, as well as the capability for you to plan your route wherever you want to go on the network.
Tube Map Live
Similar to the above app in name it may be, but this one’s focus is a bit different. Instead, its distinct purpose is to make sure it gives you the best possible real-time information on what’s happening on each and every line – that is, where the different trains actually are across the network at any one time. In order to do this effectively, it accesses its data direct from Transport for London (TfL), the official body that oversees and runs all of London’s public transport. It’s a pretty straightforward app then, but efficient and hugely useful if you already know your route and have grown familiar with how the Tube works and its different lines in a short space of time during your time in the city.
Something of a sister app to Tube Map Live (it’s produced and run by the same developer), this one’s worth downloading as well, though, as the two are distinct from one another. For this one focuses more – as you’d guess from its name – on enabling you to successfully, swiftly and easily plan your journey’s route. Aesthetically pleasing design combines with a marvellously useful offline route planner, a comprehensive Tube map, live departure boards and notifications, as well as much of the TfL-supplied real-time data that Tube Map Live provides. Quite frankly, for all that, you may consider its download price (see below) quite the snip, especially if you’re already taking advantage of cost-saving hotel deals in London.
Granted, Citymapper’s an app that’s far from just concerned with the Tube – it pretty much concerns itself with all things that ‘go’ in the urban metropolis – yet, so good a digital presence is it that the thing’s dedicated section for the Underground makes downloading it very worthwhile. Not only does it offer up a full offline Tube map with additional routing details, statuses of the different lines and live departures – in such a way that you can view all of that at once; handy – but it also informs you how much your prospective journey’s actually going to cost. And obviously, should a jaunt on the Tube be just part of your broader journey via public transport or beyond, this app can help you plan and stay on top of the whole shebang.
Finally, this app’s the pick of the bunch when it comes to natty functionality. That’s because, on top of enabling you to work out your route and plan your journey on the network, it specialises on informing you – very smartly, when you think about it – where exactly you should sit on the next train to arrive at a particular platform in a specific station so that, when you wish to exit the train at your desired destination, you’ll be as close as possible to that station’s platform exit. Now, that may sound finicky, sure, but trust us; if you’re in a real hurry or you’ve found yourself crammed in among the masses during rush hour, ensuring you don’t get off the train at the distant end of a very long platform that’s located down in the depths of the earth beneath a station’s street-level exit can save you valuable moments, indeed!