13 May 2021

Transport users looking to avoid busy stations and crowded Tube and train services as the lockdown continues to ease next Monday should use Google Maps rather than the TfL Go app for the best real time crowding information on the go, according to a review of key public transport apps published today by London TravelWatch.

London TravelWatch’s review 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.

The review found that the TfL Go app failed to give a real time indication of when particular journeys would be busy while other popular apps like City Mapper, London Live Bus Countdown and National Rail Enquiries gave no indication about how busy services are at all.

Table showing LTW's ratings of various transport apps

London TravelWatch Director, Emma Gibson commented: ‘We were really surprised that Google Maps came out top in terms of telling people how busy their train or Tube would be. Most people would assume that the TfL Go app would have all the information they need to plan a journey which avoids crowded stations and busy trains but their app falls well short. Google Maps is way ahead of TfL and the other main competition in terms of the real time information provided.’

Emma continued: ‘As the lockdown continues to ease, it is going to be harder to social distance so people will want to avoid busy routes and times. This is especially important in London because research shows that Londoners are more likely than others to require better communications to encourage them to make a journey right now*. So if we want to get people confident about using public transport again, they need to be provided with the most detailed and up to the minute information possible.’

‘As well as providing good quality information, TfL need to have the money made available to them to run the same frequency of services, so that people have the maximum chance to socially distance.’


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. Our review criteria is available on our website.
  3. *Our research with Transport Focus showed that Londoners are more likely than others to require better communications to encourage them to make a journey at the moment. On the train that’s 53% in London (compared to 46% nationally) and on the bus that’s 54% in London (compared to 44% nationally). Further information can be found on Transport Focus’ data hub.
  4. For more information, please contact the London TravelWatch press office on 07734 055494.
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