Google Maps is still the best app for live crowding information on Tube and train says London TravelWatch

16 July 2021

Transport users looking to avoid busy stations and crowded Tube and train services as the final lockdown restrictions are removed on Monday would still be better off using Google Maps than the TfL Go app according to an updated review of key public transport apps published today by London TravelWatch.

London TravelWatch’s first review of commonly used apps in May*, found that Google Maps had the best real time crowding information on the go. It prompted TfL to improve its TfL Go app, increasing its overall star rating from 3 to 3.5 stars and its busyness rating from 1.5 to 3 stars in the latest review. TfL Go now contains a live indicator for how busy stations are across the network which is welcome, but unfortunately that does not extend to individual services like Tube trains. Live information is not yet integrated into the point-to-point journey planner, but we understand that will be happening later this month.

There was no real change in the other popular apps like City Mapper, London Live Bus Countdown and National Rail Enquiries, which gave no indication about how busy services are at all.

Transport apps star rating table

London TravelWatch Director, Emma Gibson commented: ‘Our first review of popular transport apps surprised a lot of people as it showed that Google Maps was the best app for showing crowding and busyness information on public transport. We are pleased that as a result of our pressure TfL have made some improvements to TfL Go. However, they still have a way to go to catch up with Google Maps in terms of the real time information provided.’

Emma continued: ‘Many people returning to public transport as part of the final phase of unlocking will want to avoid busy routes and times. So it’s really important that train companies and TfL provide the best possible, localised travel information about the busyness of their train or bus, so that people can make informed choices about when they feel most comfortable to travel.’

 

Notes to editors

  1. London TravelWatch is the operating name for the London Transport Users Committee. We are the official watchdog representing the interests of transport users in and around London, and independent of the transport operators and government. London TravelWatch is sponsored and funded by the London Assembly, part of the Greater London Authority.
  2. You can read about our first review of transport apps on our website.
  3. In both this and our previous review, we looked at five commonly used apps, giving them star ratings for busyness and crowding; general information; functionality; and information on step free access and accessibility. Our review criteria is available on the website.
  4. For more information, please contact the London TravelWatch press office on 07734 055494.
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