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Public transport apps to help you get around

  • iPhone apps to help you navigate the public transport system
  • Real time service trackers and GPS features
  • Never be late again!
Written by Katarina Matic
15/02/2013

Do you need an iPhone app to help you get around? An iPhone app can be more than just a fun gadget on your mobile phone, when developed well an app can be a feature on your phone that you use daily and that gives you meaningful assistance. Apps that help you travel and navigate can help you when travelling to work, school, through your city and around the public transport system. The best apps are simple to use and deliver what they were designed and promised to do. Public transport systems around Australia are comprised of many trains, trams, buses, generating many different timetables, timetable changes, delays in service, replacement services. This article is a compilation of useful public transport apps for the iPhone sorted by states in Australia.

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Victoria

TramTRACKER

This app is exclusively for Tram services in Melbourne. The best feature of this app is that it provides the user with tram arrival times in real time. If you’ve ever caught a tram in Melbourne you will know that often the arrival time of a tram does not correspond with the published timetable. This app allows you to select a tram stop within 65 metres of your real time current location and it will advise you how long the next tram will be. It makes it easy to plan what time to leave the house and allows you to make executive decisions on whether you need run to the tram stop!

PTV

This app was developed by Public Transport Victoria and serves a comprehensive guide to public transport information throughout Victoria. You can use the app to view and download timetables but also track train departure times in real time. Real time tracking features are useful when you are catching more than one train or catching additional transport services such as a tram or bus. You can use the app to gain a sense of how much time you have to transfer services. The app also comes with a journey planner where you can enter your destination and it will tell you which services you can catch to get there.

New South Wales

NSW Transport Info 131500

This app is the official NSW Government app for transport information throughout NSW. The app is a comprehensive guide and one stop shop to public transport information through Sydney and across greater metropolitan Sydney. The app includes timetabling information for bus, rail and ferry services and users able to find next service times from any location. Like the Victoria PTV app this app

TripView Sydney

The alternative to NSW Transport Info app is an app called TripView Sydney. This app is not free, unlike the previous apps, you will need to pay $2.99. It is similar to NSW Transport Info app in that you can access all train, bus and ferry timetables on your phone. However, the key differentiator for this app is the real time data for buses. Much like Melbourne's TramTracker app you can view the arrival of buses in real time and whether a bus is running late. One user of the app commented "If you live in Sydney and catch buses this app WILL change your life."

Queensland

Go Brisbane

Brisbane is different compared to cities such as Sydney and Melbourne as the public transport authority TRANSLink has not developed their own free transport app. If you live in Brisbane and would like a comprehensive transport app you can purchase the app Go Brisbane, developed by OAK Systems Enterprise Pty Ltd, for $2.99. OAK Systems Enterprise developed a series of “Go” apps for various cities in Australia and New Zealand. The app provides train, bus and ferry timetables to commuters and is derived from timetable data available on the internet, presumably from TRANSLink itself. The app has some downsides, if you would like the journey planner feature you need to purchase it for an additional $0.99.

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South Australia

Go Adelaide, TransitTimes Adelaide, TransitGuru Adelaide Metro

        

Adelaide’s transport app situation is quite similar to Brisbane’s in that the transport authority of Adelaide, Adelaide Metro, has not created a free app for the public to use. The difference between Adelaide and Brisbane, however, is that Adelaide commuters have more choice when it comes to the apps available. Adelaide commuters can choose from Go Adelaide $1.99, Transit Times Adelaide $1.99 and TransitGuru Adelaide Metro $2.99. Each app is quite similar and provides timetable information for train, tram and buses around Adelaide. If you rely on Wifi to use apps then TransitGuru Adelaide and Transit Times Adelaide are good apps to use as they both provide timetables offline for those times that you do not have access to the internet. TransitGuru also has a handy GPS feature that allows you to search the top five nearest stations in your real time location. This is helpful if you often travel to places you haven’t been to before and are unsure where the nearest station is located.

Western Australia

Perth Live Trains

 
If you live in Perth and catch trains daily you will find the Perth Live Trains app really helpful. The app is designed specifically for train commuters and provides comprehensive train information according to train line. You simply select the train line you will be catching and select the direction travel and you will be provided with useful information to help you travel to your destination. The most effective feature of the app is the train delay information. When you have selected your train line and direction you will be informed when the next trains will be arriving and if any will be late. This is handy as it can help you plan what time you need to be the train station and whether you will be waiting a long time for a delayed train. The best part is that this app is completely free.

Go Perth, Transit Times Perth
  
These two apps are the Perth versions of the respective Adelaide apps. Like the Adelaide versions you will need to pay for these apps, $1.99 for Go Perth and $2.99 for Transit Times Perth. These apps are useful if you use multiple transport services such as trains, buses and ferries, as the free Perth Live Trains app only provides train information. Both apps provide timetable information and both apps store transit information on your phone so that you can access it offline without connecting to the internet.

ACT

ACT buses

This app provides timetables and maps for every bus route in the ACT. The app description claims you will “never be late again”. You can search for bus routes and timetables or if you are unsure of which stop or route is near you the allows you to search for the nearest stop using GPS, or the “Near Me” function. The app will then tell you when the next bus arrival at that stop will be. This is much like Melbourne’s TRAMtracker in that you can track the arrival of the bus and time it with your daily schedule. The app also has a feature called “Action” that provides you with alerts of when a service is cancelled or when a timetable is updated. The app will cost you $1.99 to purchase.

Northern Territory and Tasmania

                          

If you live in the Northern Territory or Tasmania and catch public transport regularly you unfortunately do not have access to an app to help you get around. This is unfortunate as transport apps can be a really useful, easy to use and a quick to access resource. What you could instead is store relevant website pages from the Northern Territory Department of Transport or Metro Tasmania on your iPhone home screen in an “app-like” fashion. For example if you catch a particular bus route you can access the bus timetable on your iPhone using the online timetable, tap the icon on the bottom of the browser screen that looks like an arrow and then select the option “Add to Home Screen”. This will store the timetable on your home screen and it will appear like an app icon. Clicking on the icon will take you straight to the timetable.

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Conclusion

Apps that assist you in navigating through the public transport system are extremely useful as they can quickly and easily provide you with important information when you are on the go. Most apps provide you with relevant timetables at your fingertips and often will have a journey planner feature so that you can quickly plan your route to a destination across multiple transport services. Some cities in Australia are quite fortunate in that their app services give you real time information regarding the arrival and departure of services, features that track services and GPS features so that you can see what’s available in your real time location. These kinds of apps are highly recommended as they assist you with catching the service on time and they also assist you when you are transferring across multiple services.

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