Bus Checker: Now More Than Just Buses

We’re expanding Bus Checker to cover trains, trams, metro and more

6 years ago, London Bus Checker became London’s first live bus times app. Gone were the days of leaving to catch a bus and praying to the gods of traffic and timetables that you wouldn’t be out in the cold for too long.

3 million downloads later and it’s been a wild ride. Expanding from London to cover the whole of the UK, major cities in the US and even Santiago, Chile.

Starting today, we’re bringing users the ability to go beyond buses and see live times for rail, underground and more.

London users will be able to boot up the app and see their closest tube, overground and tram stops alongside the usual bus stops.

Naturally, you’ll be able to add the new stops and stations to your favourites to see them in the widget and get live times on your Apple Watch too.

We’re excited to bring this to all of you and we can’t wait for you to try it out. Now Bus Checker has you covered, no matter how you travel.

If you haven’t already, get your hands on it today:

UK Bus Checker: Android, iOS
London Bus Checker: Android, iOS

The #makebristolmobile hackathon: What went down

Our 4th hackathon co-hosted with Bristol City Council was a success! Read all about some of the great ideas our hackers came up with.

 

First things first, a huge thank you to OVO Energy for hosting us at their beautiful HQ, to Bristol City Council for running proceedings with us and, of course, everyone who turned up on the day to put their app-making skills to the test.

Four teams of developers, designers and hobbyists put their heads together to come up with creative and practical solutions to issues faced by sustainable transport in the area. They had access to The Bristol API and our brand new iOS and Android SDKs, the rest was up to their imagination.

A day’s worth of pizza and beer later and it’s our pleasure to show off what they built.

Continue reading “The #makebristolmobile hackathon: What went down”

UrbanThings Announces Partnership with Ticketer

Mobile app specialists UrbanThings have recently entered into a partnership with leading ticketing platform Ticketer. The two companies will jointly develop a range of innovative mobile applications.

The partnership will involve close collaboration between the two companies, with UrbanThings developing pioneering mobile apps for Ticketer with features ranging from live public transit times to intelligent journey planning and future innovative applications.

Continue reading “UrbanThings Announces Partnership with Ticketer”

Visit to Downing Street

I was delighted to be invited to 10 Downing Street today, as part of a group of small businesses led by Enterprise Nation.

The purpose of our visit was to meet with Daniel Korski, the Prime Minister’s deputy policy advisor, to relay our feedback with regards to government support of small businesses.  I was pleased to prepare the following points for contribution to the discussion:

Carl P at Number 10Public Transportation Data should be Public

UrbanThings empowers intelligent mobility and we do this by working with public datasets of transportation data.  However, there exists no mandate for bus and rail operators to release such valuable information as Open Data.  Given that such operators are subsidised by the public purse, and the obvious value of this data, we think that such a mandate is necessary and should form a key part of the actual franchise agreement to which operators subscribe.  A great place to make a start at enforcing this would be the forthcoming Buses Bill.

Anecdotally, we have heard that some operators are opposed to these measures not because of any fundamental opposition to the concept of data sharing, but because of a fear that greater scrutiny of their data might result in levies or fines, for example, from the Transport Commissioner.  We would urge the government to offer the necessary reassurance to operators that opening up their data for the wider good would not lead to such punitive measures.

We would draw attention to Transport for London’s Open Data policy, a perfect example of an unrestricted policy that has reaped rewards in the nation’s capital.  TfL make all their operational data available for free, and this approach has fostered a rich marketplace of application development that, in turn, encourages increased footfall back to the operator, completing the perfect circle.

London Tech Recruitment is Tough!

We’re fortunate to have an amazing team here at UrbanThings, but getting the right people has seemed, at times, impossible.  A basic supply shortage combined with an anecdotal talent drain into fintech can make it extremely hard for SMEs to recruit the top talent that they need to compete on a global stage.  While we’re not positioned to offer a cast-iron solution to these woes, we would suggest consideration of the following measures that would help SMEs to compete:

  • Extended financial support for SMEs in their crucial early stages, for example an increase to the Employment Allowance or the ability to reclaim the first £20,000 of PAYE for companies with less than 5 employees operating in the technology sector.
  • Address the issue of supply with an increased focus on technology and programming in UK curriculums from an early age.

I was most grateful to Daniel for listening to our wider points, to Enterprise Nation for arranging the visit and I very much hope that our feedback will be taken on board.  Sadly I also forgot to nick any Downing Street loo roll, so came away with only the memories.