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Top 5 Free London Travel Apps for Android Phones

BY Boon Koh
Published 29 October 2011

Having owned a Nexus S for a year now, I’ve tried out many of the mobile apps available for Android (and probably on the iPhone too).

Some are decent, some are not even as good as the mobile JourneyPlanner by TFL, and there is one free app that really stands out, which I now use everyday. Below are the top 5 Android apps available for navigating the London Tube and Bus network, which are indispensable to any Londoner.

Top App: Pubtran London
While the name of the app doesn’t tell you much, this is by the far the app that is my must-have on my Google Nexus S phone. It does Journey Planning  from point A to B. But not just any standard route planning – most of the other apps don’t factor in travel disruptions and suspensions, or don’t include buses, or don’t accept postcodes. Pubtran does it all, and there are even advanced options where you can specify a preference for the fastest route, or the one with least changes, or the one with least walking. It also has widgets for tube line status updates, as well as live departure boards for tube stations so you know whether you should run for it or not. The only thing missing is train station and bus stop live timings, but none of the other apps do that either at the moment. An all-round excellent app that is indispensible.

App #2: TFL’s Official Mobile Bus Countdown
Unfortunately, not an app yet. But soon to be one. You know how some bus stops have those countdown boards telling you when the next bus is? Get the same at any bus stop in London through this mobile-optimised Bus Countdown Page. Its not an app – but its fast and snappy and should be bookmarked in your browser. At a bus stop, look for the 5 digit code for the bus stop on the bus stop pole – and just enter it in to get upcoming bus arrivals!

App #3: London Underground Free
Despite my disappointment with its limited functionality, it redeems itself by having a very high-res map of the London Underground – which is useful to refer to when needed. Crucially, if there’s no mobile internet access (say you’re already inside the tube station), it can still plan your journey offline. But only Tube journeys. Which is somewhat limited.


App #4: National Rail’s Live Departures & Arrivals
There’s a National Rail Android App that does it better and in an app, but if you don’t need to travel by rail frequently, and just want to know at your station what’s the next train time, is it delayed or late, and which platform you need to go to, just use the excellent National Rail’s Live Departments & Arrivals mobile-optimised page. Very useful in conjunction with the Pubtran London app above – as that tells you which train you need to catch, but not whether it is delayed or which platform.

App #5: London Bus Stops Map
This is a godsend for anyone following JourneyPlanner directions involving a bus or just want to know all the places you can go to by bus from a certain area. It is able to download and store all the bus stop maps that you see at bus stops, thus allowing you to look up on the tube how to get to Bus Stop G once you get off the tube station.

All the apps above are free, which makes them even sweeter! So if you travel around alot in London and want to be able to plan and optimise your tube and bus journeys, get the 5 apps above for your Android phone.

Do you use and Android apps to help you navigate the London transport labyrinth? Let us know which are your favourites below!