Best apps for navigating the rail strikes


ith fresh train strikes disrupting travel for many commuters, finding the best alternative mode of transport can be critical. 

From free bike rentals to live travel info, these apps can help you switch gears to make that meeting or date while the trains are down and Tube lines disrupted.

Best live travel app: Citymapper

Citymapper is still the reigning champ of free real-time travel apps, despite its growing focus on monetisation. At its core, the app gives you a detailed breakdown of the quickest and cheapest route to your destination via public transport and alternatives such as cycling, walking, and ride-hailing. Power users can grab extra features, including personalised routes and rain warnings as part of the Citymapper club subscription, which costs £2.99 per month, or £19.99, and is available to Citymapper super-duper travel pass holders.

Citymapper on App Store and Google Play Store.

Alternatives: TFL Go, <strong>Google Maps</strong>.

Best map app: Google Maps

Like Citymapper, Google Maps is another everyday travel essential for commuters. Beyond navigation and public transport info for your chosen destination, the app can also show you nearby rental bikes and e-scooters, wheelchair-accessible routes, and detailed prices for select ride-hailing apps.

All the features are free and easy-to-use, plus you can use it to find nearby attractions and points of interest, including supermarkets, restaurants, bars, and other shops.

Google Maps on App Store and Google Play Store.

Alternatives: Apple Maps

Most Citymapper features are free but you can pay for extras including more personalised results and additional bus info

/ Citymapper

Best ride-hailing app: Uber

While there’s no shortage of ride-hailing apps available in London, Uber is still the most popular, with more than 3.5 million users in the capital alone. The app essentially lets you book a car ride for a fee, which fluctuates based on factors such as demand. You can choose from different types of rides, from regular UberX cars for up to four people, to more luxe and larger vehicles, after which you’ll be paired with a nearby driver to take you to your destination. Uber says a ride in an UberX in London costs £1.16 per mile during off-peak hours and £1.37 per mile during peak times.

Still, it’s always worth having alternative ride-hailing apps available on your phone to compare prices and availability.

Uber on App Store and Google Play Store.

Alternatives: Bolt, Gett, Kabbee, Free Now, Ola.

Brompton Bike Hire is offering Londoners free rentals during train strikes

/ Brompton Bike Hire

Best bicycle hire app: Brompton Bike Hire

It may not be the best-known service in a cluttered field, but Brompton is the best bike-rental app because it is free for Londoners during train strikes. The company offers 48 hours of free bike rental using the code “STRIKE”. Rental normally costs £5 a day, with the promo granting you £10 of credit for use during the rail-strike period. There are around 20 bike docks in and around Central London, typically near train stations.

Brompton Bike Hire on App Store and Google Play Store.

Alternatives: Santander Cycles, Lime, Dott, Tier.

Best road travel app: Waze

For car owners and renters, Google-owned Waze is a comprehensive, free road travel app that relies on a trove of real-time data provided by drivers. With roughly 140 million users, that means, in theory, it should give you more up-to-date info about traffic conditions, road closures, and hazards to help you reach your destination quicker. Users can also provide info on speed traps and roadworks. In addition to your phone, you can get Waze on Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, to use directly from your car’s head unit.

Waze on App Store and Google Play Store.

Alternatives: TomTom AmiGo, Sygic, Google Maps.

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