My Digital Dependency changed when CityMapper came into my life quickly, quietly and completely unexpectedly after an overdue IOS update that kicked out my ever trusty google maps and replaced it with Apple’s new ‘Maps’, my clever iPhone suggested that I might like to give CityMapper a try. I didn’t give it too much thought, wading blindly into the download with no idea that my life was about to change forever.
Remember the first time you tried humus? This was better.
Firstly it is important to explain what CityMapper is. In my opinion CityMapper is quite simply the best travel app around for London, and now includes Paris and New York too! (I haven’t tested it there… yet).
However, this is no ordinary travel app. As an app, CityMapper goes above and beyond the call of duty by providing information that you didn’t even know you needed.
In terms of usability it is an absolute dream; it thinks like you think, providing the information you need and quickly. The app allows you to plan travel from point A, whether that’s where you are right now or a future destination, to point B. I know what you’re thinking – not exactly ground breaking stuff? But wait… the app will throw up your travel options via Foot, Train, Bus, Car, Bike and the ever comical ‘Jetpack’ option (which takes around 3 minutes to get you just about anywhere!) And there’s more…
The on-foot option will tell you how many calories that journey will burn and what that is equivocal to in beer or doughnut form. If you want to travel by bike, you’ll be told about the calories but also directed to the nearest ‘Boris bike’ stand AND told how many bikes/spaces are available at your destination.
If you want to take a cab, CityMapper will calculate an average price and help you find one.
If you want to use good old *cough* reliable TFL then you will be given live times for your tube, bus or overground route and receive trust worthy information about delays and line closures. You’ll also be told how much your journey will cost on your Oyster card and how long it should take – inclusive of changing lines and any walking in between connections.
Still not getting you excited? Well, the clever fellas have also included handy quick route options such as ‘Bus only’ and ‘Rain Safe’ so you can decide your journey specifics. This feature suited me perfectly back when I was your classic un-paid intern who could just afford the ‘bus only’ travel card. Whereas every other travel app would have laughed me out of the room: ‘Are you crazy? That is simply not the quickest route you mental woman, have you heard of the tube?’, CityMapper, just says ‘Sure, we can get on board with that – but make sure you set off at 8:05am to make it there on time, dear.’
Another great feature is the ability to add favourite journeys and destinations – super handy for when you are in a crisis (or even worse – in south London!); just tap ‘get me home’ and you’re on your way. A recent update also allows you to make your favourite journeys available offline, so you’ll never lose your way again.
It’s also worth mentioning how painfully accurate the app is, I have tried and failed on several occasions to defy it – convinced I know best. This travel app really does link user habits, information, ease and simplicity seamlessly together – albeit in an overly green environment.
I like to think of myself as someone who could live without anything if I needed to (meat free for 7 years after a commitment to being cool in college) but I’m really not sure if I could give this app up. As far as my ‘Digital Dependency’ goes it’s a sure fire winner, when it comes to Middle Eastern chickpea based dips however…