With new train strikes disrupting travel for many passengers, finding the best alternative mode of transport can be critical.
From free bike rentals to live travel information, these apps can help you shift gears to make that meeting or date when trains are closed and subway lines are down.
Best live travel app: Citymapper
Citymapper remains the reigning champion of free real-time travel apps, despite its growing focus on monetization. Basically, the app gives you a detailed breakdown of the fastest and cheapest route to your destination, via public transport and alternatives such as cycling, walking, and calling a taxi. Power users can get extra features including personalized routes and rain alerts as part of a £2.99 or £19.99 per month Citymapper club subscription and are available to Citymapper super-duper travel card holders.
city map open app store and Google Play store.
alternatives: TFL Go, Google Maps.
Best map app: Google Maps
Like Citymapper, Google Maps is another day trip for commuters. Beyond navigation and public transport information for your chosen destination, the app can also show you nearby rental bikes and e-scooters, wheelchair-accessible routes, and detailed prices for specific ride-hailing apps.
All features are free and easy to use, you can also use it to find nearby attractions and places of interest, including supermarkets, restaurants, bars and other shops.
Google Maps is on app store and Google Play store.
alternatives: apple maps
Best ride-hailing app: Uber
While there’s no shortage of ride-hailing apps in London, Uber is still the most popular, with over 3.5 million users in the capital alone. The app basically lets you book a car ride for a fee that fluctuates depending on factors like demand. You can choose from different types of rides, from regular UberX cars for up to four people to more luxurious and larger vehicles, then you’ll be paired with a nearby driver to drive you to your destination. Uber says that an UberX ride in London costs £1.16 per mile during off-peak hours and £1.37 per mile during peak times.
Still, it’s always useful to have alternative ride-hailing apps on your phone to compare prices and availability.
Uber is on app store and Google Play store.
alternatives: bolt, gett, kebab, free now, Ola.
Best bike rental app: Brompton Bike Hire
It may not be the best known service in a messy area, but Brompton is the best bike rental app because it’s free for Londoners during train strikes. The company offers 48 hours of free bike rental using the code “STRIKE”. Rentals normally cost £5 a day and the promotion gives you a £10 credit to use during the rail strike period. There are around 20 bike parking spaces in and around central London, usually near train stations.
Brompton Bike Rental app store and Google Play store.
alternatives: Santander Cycles, Lime, point, Stage.
The best road travel app: Waze
For car owners and renters, Waze by Google is a comprehensive free road travel app based on real-time data provided by drivers. With around 140 million users, this means it should theoretically give you more up-to-date information on traffic conditions, closed roads and hazards to help you reach your destination faster. Users can also provide information about speed traps and roadworks. In addition to your phone, you can get Waze in Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to use directly from your car’s headunit.
on Waze app store and Google Play store.
alternatives: TomTom AmiGo, sygic, Google Maps.