When's the next bus due? There's an app for that too

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[UK] You know how it is, you wait for a bus and then three arrive at once. Although NextBuses (iTunes link), a new iPhone app by London-based developer Malcolm Barclay, doesn’t quite solve this problem, it does promise to make it easier to know when the next bus is due and even, in some instances, tell you if it’s running on time.

The app, which costs 59p, delivers departure information for 370,000 bus, coach and tram stops throughout England, Scotland and Wales to Apple’s smartphone. It gives access to a mixture of scheduled and real-time (where available) information based on the user’s location, postcode or general locality.

The data is licensed from Traveline’s NextBuses service, which already exists in SMS and WAP-based form, although the iPhone version is obviously a lot richer on the UI side and overall much more user-friendly.

Barclay tells me he is sharing a small percentage of the app’s revenue with Traveline, a national association of regional transport operators and local authorities, and that while the data isn’t licensed exclusively, the app is an ‘official’ offering with permission to use Nextbuses’ logo and other branding.

Competition-wise, there’s at least one other similar offering in the iPhone app store, an unofficial app called ‘Next Bus UK’ that simply pulls in the Traveline NextBuses website.

Moving forward, Barclay plans to add more real-time data as it becomes available.

He also seems to be carving out quite a nice niche in the transport-oriented apps space. Along with NextBuses, Barclay is the developer of the popular Tube Deluxe, Tube Status & London Bus applications for the iPhone, and says that more than 200,000 copies of his applications have been sold through the iTunes store to-date.

Update: It’s just like buses for real, you wait ages and three apps appear at once. Kizoom have contacted us to say that the company released MyBus (iTunes link) on the same day as NextBuses. The iPhone app also utilises Traveline’s data and API, the latter of which Kizoom developed – the company specialises in helping transport providers make their data available in various forms to consumers.

  • Tim Johnson

    It’s a very useful app and vastly better than “next bus UK” which, as you say, simply takes pages from the Traveline mobile website. Kizoom, who created that site for Traveline, now has a competing app on sale called MyBus. Same price, not “official”, and we think a little better. Would be very interested to see any comparitive assessment!

  • Tim

    Probably worth noting here that neither of the apps will be able to show live bus times for London until 2011 as TfL doesn’t provide the information yet. More info here

    If you are in an area covered though I’m sure they’re both pretty impressive and Tube Deluxe is a must for anyone who uses the tube and thetrainline app by Kizoom is equally impressive but for trains.

  • Kidd Wolff

    Android version please!

  • links for 2011-01-14 « Where Is All This Leading To?

    […] When’s the next bus due? There’s an app for that too (tags: app iphone bus traveline kizoom) […]

  • Big data or open data and Cloud data | CTO Blog

    […] The participating governments, and increasingly local government units as well, are signing up to the ‘open data’ movement, meaning that they are making at least a reasonable amount of their trusted data available to be used by business or in the development of new solutions. Open data, the act of making your data sets available for others to use without copyright or other hindrance, has allowed some interesting new services to be introduced. Google Transit Feed is a particularly well known example tying a metropolitan area transit authority’s data to Google maps and feeding a new generation of apps for mobility devices such as NextBus. […]

  • Pete Ono
  • Nick Chadwick

    If you want live bus times for London, check out BusMate London in the app store. As well as showing the live times, you can set favourite stops, see bus routes and timetables, and set unique reminders which will tell you when it’s time to go to the bus stop. All for only 69p!

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