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Extreme commuting: the best apps to help you get around London during the tube strike

Posted at 5:30 pm, April 29, 2014 in Transport
Tube strike © @davidlberesford

It’s official: the tube strike is well and truly upon us. With London in a state of #meltdown, it seems like a good opportunity to find out how useful those ‘handy’ city apps really are. In the style of TV program ’24’, we set Anna Brook the challenge of avoiding tube chaos and getting to work on time this morning, armed only with her trusty iPhone.

7.00 am
Quick breakfast while checking Twitter and it’s clear that the strike hysteria is already at full throttle. I go straight to the Station Master App to get a full briefing on what tube lines are running. The news isn’t great.

7:05 am
Checking in with Citymapper, I weigh up all the other travel options, from walking and cycling to buses. I can even see how many calories each choice would burn and choose a ‘Rain Safe’ route. Unfortunately, it just confirms that all my usual routes are in a total mess – and a 79 minute walk from Queen’s Park to Tottenham Court Road is not something I am willing to consider just yet.

7.10 am
Changing tack, I head for Waze, the traffic busting driving app, with the idea of driving to work. The app uses crowd-sourced data to find the quickest route. The traffic isn’t looking too bad, so I jump in the car.

7.45 am
Traffic is starting to build up, so I decide to find a parking space and re-think my options. Jumping onto Parkatmyhouse.com, I book a cheap space at a church just outside the congestion zone and ditch my car. When I arrive, the man greeting me says the church uses the money it earns to provide free lunches to homeless people in the area – pretty cool.

8.08 am
My 8.15am meeting is now looking in jeopardy. Planning ahead, I download the Join.me app, which lets you host virtual meetings and access conference calls.

8.10 am
By this point I’m having serious caffeine withdrawals, so I reach for the Best Coffee Shop App and find myself a quiet coffee shop with wifi in Marylebone where I can have my meeting.

8.30 am
Using the Barclays Bikes app, I bag myself the last bike left at the docking station. Feeling pretty smug, I cycle the final 10 minutes to the office and arrive 20 minutes earlier than normal. Mission complete.

9:40 am
A colleague hobbles in, clutching a skateboard. He says he left his flat two hours ago and is pretty sure he now has shin splints.

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