London is complicated enough before you even consider taking on its public transport system. An absurd number of bus routes and underground and overground trains transport people across town, usually in a rather sluggish manner, every single day.
The smartphone can provide some basic alleviation from the pains of negotiating the city, usually thanks to its built-in maps app. We have discovered recently, however, that - thanks to things like Oyster and an increased effort by Transport For London to provide data to travellers - third-party applications are getting really good. From the ones we have played with, easily our favourite is Bus London.
Bus London is a simple app at heart, but the functions it provides are hugely useful. First, once your details are entered, you can see your Oyster card balance. This is important because it saves you from that nasty situation when you hop on a bus and have no credit. Sadly you can't top up from within the application but at least it will give you some warning before you get lumped with the £2.30 cash charge for taking the bus.
On top of this, the application will search for nearby bus stops, based on your location and then tell you what routes travel from each, giving arrival times as well. This is all handled in an incredibly slick manner and makes transporting yourself by bus across London as painless as possible. In fact, it is miles better than the TFL website itself and lays out data in a much more manageable way.
A fare calculator will help those not familiar with London's pricing system for the bus. There is also a route search, which can do things like give you specific buses on a street or tell you the address where routes begin or end. It's all very comprehensive, especially given its a free app.
Bus London comes highly recommended for seasoned Londoners or those who plan on taking a trip to the city. It should, in theory, mean you don't get yourself lost.
Like the sound of the app? Let us know in the comments below ...