When's the next bus due? London's bus stops often have handy countdown boards that let you make an informed decision about whether to wait, or go grab a coffee. But there are many stops that lack these readouts. Passengers with iPhones can now use a new app to see where their bus has got to from any of London's 19,000 bus stops.
If this sounds familiar, you probably read about TfL's Countdown site, which launched less than a month ago. This web-based service was welcomed as a potential game-changer for those with long waits between scheduled busses. Finally, you could check up on the real-time progress of any bus, and not waste time hanging around for a service that's still 20 minutes away.
The natural evolution for this use of data is to stick it into an app. London Bus Checker basically takes TfL's data and repackages it into a friendly phone-based version.
The app has a very clean interface. There are only three types of page: the main map view (top), which shows all nearby bus stops; the countdown board (right), accessed when you click on any given bus stop; and the list view, a handy way of browsing all the local services and finding out which bus stop you need. It's also possible to bookmark your most-used stops for quick reference.
The app is much swifter and simpler to use on a mobile than plodding through TfL's web site. That said, the latter also shows the full route of any given service, a useful tool if you're journeying to unfamiliar parts of town and want to know where you're going. Something for version 2, perhaps.
Bus Checker is out now for iPhone and other Appley species, price £1.49. Data come from TfL, but the app is independently produced by FatAttitude, Ltd.