Get your own crystal ball for London buses

Posted on by Mike Evans

Often the simplest apps put the biggest smile on your face. Especially if they work as advertised and can improve your daily life. One such is Bus Checker which predicts the time of arrival of London buses.

For several years London buses have been equipped with GPS tracking and this has enabled stops in central London to be fitted with Countdown displays tracking impending arrivals. It works well. In the outer suburbs, by and large, there are no indicators, even at major interchange stations such as Hammersmith.

The Bus Checker app taps into the Transport for London Countdown database and will tell you how long you have to wait at any bus stop in the Greater London area. It works like a dream and has made my life a lot easier in the two weeks I’ve been using it. The app shows you a map of the stops near your current location and provides details of direction and destination so you can choose the correct place to wait. So far it has been totally accurate.

The problem with buses, unlike trains, is that they are unpredictable because of traffic conditions. The result can be long periods of waiting followed by two or three buses arriving at the same time. Bus Checker can’t do anything about iregularities like that, of course, but it can tell you exactly what is happening. It enables you to stay in the warmth of Starbucks until the next bus is due.

As far as I’m concerned, Bus Checker is the best £1.49 I’ve spent this year. It’s less than the cost of one bus fare, by the way. There is an even cheaper app that does a similar job, although I haven’t tried it. Next Bus is in the App Store at 69p.

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