London Tube - Review

A simple app that allows you to view Oyster balance, live departure boards, a map for each line, and add/manage favourite (most frequently used) stations, that costs 79p? I’m in!

For any poor sod who has to deal with the constant stress of the London Underground, an app that displays status reports on their phone is one valuable asset. London Tube does just that, featuring a summary of all lines that makes the decision on which train to use that much easier, saving both time and money.

But let’s not stop there – there’s much more. Boasting a simply gorgeous interface with the integration of the Metro UI, the London Tube app for Windows Phone 7 really is a contender for the title of best tube app on any smart phone platform. It doesn’t end with status updates as mentioned however, as this app seems to have much more to offer. This is where it shines above other offerings available, and makes the micro-cost seem too low. There are no stability issues through heavy usage, loading time is minimal and downloading information (or status refreshing) is almost instant.

A map is available (offline – fantastic if you are on the underground where signal is extremely rare, and saves on bandwidth) for each line, as well as the complete London Underground map. Every map clearly displays changeover locations, zone coverage sectors throughout, but unfortunately no wheelchair access icons.

Live departure boards are available, which was a huge selling point for me personally, clearly displaying departure times for trains on each platform per station. I found the information published to be both up-to-date and accurate enough to trust, however when delays are present there can be errors with times, though this is no fault of the app itself. Search for stations is available, and when you frequently visit any given station it can be added as a favourite that can be easily accessed minimalizing time wasted when seeking updated departure times.

A very exciting feature that many users found interesting (according to the app reviews on the Marketplace) is the included Oyster balance. Configuring this smart little function with your account credentials allows the app to display up-to-date status of your card - a very nice touch.

There is room for improvement, however. I found that showing no wheelchair access icons on the maps available (which are clearly shown on maps located on trains and stations) needs to be rectified especially for any disabled traveller. A live tile included where you can set it to display your current oyster balance would be a welcomed addition. Finally, journey planning would make London Tube a complete package, allowing travellers (or tourists) to plan their journey taking into account station and/or line closures.

I for one have had the situation of travelling to a station only to find out that there is no service at the present time, or there are severe delays. London Tube has saved me a good number of times and being both cheap and easy to use, it’s a must have for any Londoner (I wouldn’t recommend anyone living outside the UK to purchase this app, you will be severely disappointed with the only use you have with the app is to laugh at us English travellers when the entire transport for London shuts down due to a trickle of snow).

You can find London Tube in the Marketplace here. No trial is available.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.