Many of our readers who travel into London frequently will be all-too familiar with the challenges of getting into the city during the morning rush (or any time of day, for that matter). And especially if you’re a regular train traveller or commuter, you’re no doubt hoping for a smooth and uneventful journey each day in the run-up to the holidays. As someone who used to travel into London almost each week, I can really sympathise with the millions of people who have to put up with a lot just to get to work. Having also experienced super-efficient train services in cities such as Tokyo and Hong Kong, I’m fairly certain that Londoners are getting a raw deal in terms of reliability, comfort and speed.
With all that in mind, if you’ve not already tried CommuteLondon, now might be a good time to check out the app (and website), as it might just help you avoid travel chaos in the weeks ahead. CommuteLondon is a free app that provides real-time updates on the state of the trains around London. The clever part however is that it doesn’t just use information provided by the train companies, but uses real, crowd-sourced data (tapping into social media conversations about particular journeys and train companies) to show you what’s really happening on your particular stretch of the line.
CommuteLondon says the idea originated by seeing people comment on their journeys using Twitter. The app, which is available on Android and iOS devices, does pull in official data from the transport companies, but also scours the Twitterverse to pull in more details in real time as it happens – that means which trains are delayed, where the disruptions are, and even how many seats are free.
The app also gives smartphone notifications about ongoing delays and bad weather, and thankfully covers just about every train company in the UK (not all support the social feedback and notifications, though).
Here’s a quick rundown of CommuteLondon’s main features:
- Let you see side by side what customers and operators are saying about the services running, by scanning Twitter to bring updates from other commuters.
- Provide travel warnings about the services affecting your route and your commute
- Be first to know when things start to go wrong or how long the service is really taking to recover after an incident
- Remind you if you need your brolly or gloves at either end of your commute
- Help you find out when you’re most likely to get a seat or find a train that runs on time
You can find many more details about the app on the CommuteLondon website, which also has a wealth of live information regarding the city’s trains.