As consumers flag cabs online, sign in to car shares with their phones and plan travel with the push of a button, apps that bring the world to the user’s fingertips are more relevant than ever. Whether you’re a digital native or an early adopter, these six apps are poised to make your trips more efficient, user-friendly and personalized, reshaping the transit landscape in ways never imagined before the invention of the smartphone.
The New Way to Take a Taxi
Uber changed the ride-hailing scene when it launched in 2009. But the company has been plagued by a series of scandals and lawsuits, and these apps are stepping in to reestablish taxiing as a convenient service that doesn’t serve the user at the expense of the law.
Free Now (previously mytaxi) started in Germany, but has quickly grown its European fleet. The app is comparable to other apps but with a slightly clunkier user interface, each taxi driver is licensed, and you won’t be subjected to surge pricing when you really need a ride. Pay for trips within the app, and consolidate company travel for your business. When your ride is over, you can rate the driver and save your favorites.
Making Public Transit a First Choice
Every public transit user has found themselves staring at a bus map, unsure of how to get to their destination. But if these user-friendly apps have anything to say about it, confusing public transit will soon be a thing of the past.
Citymapper is an award-winning app operating in 39 locations worldwide. It provides essential features like real-time arrival data and trip planning from set locations in a beautiful, easy-to-navigate user interface. But what makes this app unique is how it caters to the individual: Citymapper lists all possible methods of travel—excluding the car—to get you to your next destination. If you needed extra motivation to ditch your vehicle, the app even tracks your burned calories as you move from point A to point B. This app makes public transit as streamlined and unified as possible, encouraging people to leave their cars at home.
When you open Transit, it shows a list of all nearby bus routes, car shares and bike shares. This is particularly helpful for urbanites who already know how to get where they want to go, but want to see which route will get them started on their journey first. Once you decide on your route, it will let you know when it’s time to leave for your bus or train, and give you real-time updates if your selected mode of transport is running late. The makers of the Transit app partnered with transit providers—notably the Toronto Transit Commission and Calgary Transit—to help ensure reliability. This app is perfect for you if your city isn’t covered by Citymapper and you’re wondering if you have time to grab a coffee before you catch your bus.
With many people wanting to be freed from the shackles of debt, car maintenance and parking fees, car sharing is becoming the new normal in cities around the world. Find your next ride using these leading car share apps.
SHARE Now (car2go) provides convenient service for travelers and locals alike in a number of European cities. Membership gives you access to a fleet of (mostly) compact vehicles, and trips can be concluded in a variety of parking options within the city’s home zone. Perfect for a-to-b trips, SHARE NOW charges by the minute, and memberships are retained with only a small yearly fee. With insurance and fuel included in the price, this is a great option for any commuter.
As with SHARE NOW, Zipcar fees include fuel and insurance costs. But fueling aside, this app is completely different: users pay either a monthly or yearly fee for membership and gain access to a variety of vehicles, from compact cars to cargo vans. With lower hourly and day rates, Zipcar is a fantastic option for those longer errands and weekend trips.
All About You
Transportation apps are changing the transit landscape by filling in the gaps between transit providers, governments, and users. Boosted by easy-to-use interfaces and integrated solutions, transit apps are on the verge of revolutionizing when and how we move.
On the hunt for the latest in transit technology? See how our mobile apps can work for you.
Image: Shutterstock / Bjoern Wylezich