Citymapper, the popular route-planning app, now makes smart buses.

In an attempt to improve mobility in cities, it's basically "reinventing the bus". The company's new buses are designed to collect route data, with the goal of helping improve public transportation around the city. It's working with Transport for London on a trial in London. On May 9 and May 10, Citymapper will begin running the CMX1 on a circulator route around Blackfriars and Waterloo bridge.

It will use existing London bus stops, and arrival times will appear on the standard departure boards. Citymappers' buses, however, are green and smaller than regular buses. They only have 30 seats. But passenger will have access to USB ports for charging their phones, while a screen toward the front of the bus will display the current location in real time as well as upcoming route stops on a map.

The company plans to collect information for passengers and drivers and will analyse the harvested data to understand how people travel. Citymapper said it's "reinventing the bus for the smart city era". In fact, it's reinventing "the entire software stack for running and operating a bus". It's built software for everything - "including real-time operational control to driver management to scheduling systems."

CityMappercitymapper to trial its own smart bus transportation service in london image 2

Citymapper said it will eventually explain in more detail how smarter bus tech leads to better mobility and cities, but obviously, the main point is that it wants to "solve urgent problems of congestion and infrastructure." It also wants to turn a profit. Speaking to Wired, Citymapper CEO Azmut Yusuf said: "This makes money. So we think if we can do this well, it will pay for itself."

In other words, with this trial, Citymapper may be taking the first steps toward becoming a public transportation company.