The Best UK Public Transport-related Apps

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Unlike some places in the world, getting around the UK without a car isn’t especially difficult (in theory), given the amount of trains, buses and taxis on offer.

Of course, knowing where and when to get these from and what the cheapest way is to get from Point A to Point B is a different matter all together.

Fortunately, as The Telegraph’s Donald Strachan (a specialist in technology and new media) says, “mobile phones are erasing many of the inconveniences of using public transport.”

New apps designed to make getting around on public transport are being released all the time. Let’s take a look at some of the best:

Trains

National Rail recently released an official app (free for iPhone and Android) that lets you look up train schedules and also lets you know when a train’s delayed. If you use this app a lot, you might want to consider paying for the premium version (£4.99) which contains no ads.

If you have a Windows phone, use Sprite Dynamics’ Rail Planner as it does pretty much the same job.

Masabi’s train apps are also excellent, and you can use them to get train schedules and to buy tickets for any train in the UK. They’re available for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone (and basically any kind of smartphone), they’re completely free to use and they don’t have built-in ads (unlike most free apps these days).

The best part? They’re able to tell you which platform a train will be arriving at before it’s shown on the departure board at the train station, helping you get the jump on all the other commuters trying to pile into the train.

As well as train information and booking services, there’s another app that can help you save money on train journeys. Did you know that you can occasionally make the price of a long train journey cheaper my dividing it into two tickets? This is known as ‘ticket splitting’.

Tickety Split Lite (free for the iPhone) is a new app that will tell you when it’s cheaper to split a train journey into two tickets.

For those without an iPhone, check out the Split Ticket web-app on MoneySavingExpert.com by clicking here.

Windsor & Eton Railway Station

Taxis

While getting a taxi can sometimes be as easy as calling one up or even sticking your arm out in the road, what if you don’t have a local taxi firm’s phone number, or what if there are no taxis in your immediate area (that you can see)?

When traveling in London, the GetTaxi app (free for iPhone, Android and Blackberry) is the answer. It allows you to link up with over 1,000 of the registered London cabbies and lets you ‘summon’ a cab to your area. The app then provides you with their ETA (estimated arrival time) and even allows you to follow them on a map as they move towards you. You can pre-load money onto the app (via cash or credit card) and pay for your journey directly. It should also be noted that you won’t be charged extra for using this service.

Buses

Bus Checker (£1.99 for iPhone and Android) is an app that will show the nearest bus stops to you (on a map, based on your current location) as well as real-time information about the next buses due at each stop. Missing the last bus and waiting around for hours are now a thing of the past!

It should be noted that at this present time this app only works within London, but a (free) UK upgrade is in development and scheduled for release this summer.

An alternative for Windows Phone users is Next Bus UK. This app will cost you £1.49.


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