London-based Citymapper, which gives city-dwellers real-time transport and routing information across hundreds of cities in Europe, Asia and the Americas, has dabbled with various ways of monetizing through the years, including through a paid bus service, multitransport transport subscriptions and an enterprise offering. Then back in September, the company launched a new subscription-based service that removed ads from the app and introduced a slew of premium features, including lock-screen navigation, bus-only routes and turn-by-turn voice navigation.
Costing $2.99 a month or $19.99 a year, Citymapper Club, as the service is called, was evidently not enough to salvage the business as Via swooped in to buy the company six months later, in what was widely regarded as a fire sale (though no acquisition price was ever confirmed).
Moving forward, all previous premium features will be free for all, with a new half-price $1.49 monthly fee ($9.99 per year) for those wanting to remove advertising.
Acquiring the transit data of millions of urban travelers was clearly a big selling point for Via when it bought Citymapper, so it makes sense that it would look to encourage more usage by making all the features free to use. And by keeping an ad-free subscription in place, it allows the company to cover its costs and directly monetize a product that it now has to maintain alongside its existing properties.
Some features are limited to a specific platform for now though, for example lock-screen navigation is only available on iOS, whereas a feature that shows you the best time to leave for your destination is limited to Android.