As of yesterday, the London Underground is officially 150 years old. Way back on January 10, 1863, London's Tube became the first mass transit underground railway in the world. And what started as just seven stops on one line between Paddington and Farringdon stations has now grown into a massive rail network of more than 11 lines and 270 stations, which carries almost 4 million Londoners a day.
In honor of the Tube's birthday I thought I'd list my two favorite apps to help me navigate London's iconic railway. While Transport for London doesn't have an official app, it does make its data available to developers. In the past two years I've tried virtually every Tube app out there; the following are the ones I believe every Londoner, or visitor, should have on their iPhone.
By far, Tube Tamer is the slickest, fastest and most pleasing London Tube app out there. Launch the app, enter your start and end stations, choose your departure time and tap search. Your journey options are displayed in a easy to navigate list.
Or, if you don't know your stations, you can get directions by entering an address, post code or point of interest. The place search is powered by Google, so you know your results will be accurate. The power of this app lies in its simplicity. It's fast and easy to use -- something that comes in handy when you want to catch the next available train.
Tube Map Pro (US$1.99/UK£1.49)
Tube Map Pro is another great choice for navigating London's Underground. I don't use it as much as Tube Tamer because its UI is a little more convoluted. Then again, Tube Map Pro also does more than Tube Tamer. The app uses officially licensed maps from Transport for London that allow users to easily see an overview of the entire transport network and find out how to quickly get from one point to another. Besides maps and route-planning, the app uses GPS to show you the closest station to you, features live departure boards and lets you track the balance of your Oyster card (the Tube's ticketing system) right in the app.
Are you a fellow Londoner? Have a favorite Tube app? Let me know in the comments!