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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.

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