When Google Maps struggles, Citymapper comes to my rescue

citymapper side by side google maps on phone 1

Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority

Most of us have most likely discovered ourselves in a busy, bustling metropolis in some unspecified time in the future in our lives. The final time I did, I used to be on trip in Hong Kong, fully unfamiliar with town’s maze of transportation choices that ranged from trams to ferries. Whereas I supposed to depend on Google Maps for the journey, a buddy additionally beneficial I combine it up with Citymapper. Trying again now, that advice was value its weight in gold — I not assume Google Maps is the perfect app for getting round an enormous metropolis, particularly in case you’re on a vacation.

Regardless of what my reward for the app would have you ever consider, I’d by no means even heard of Citymapper previous to that Hong Kong journey. It’s not exhausting to see why, although. The app doesn’t do something except you’re in a supported metropolis, and people are particularly exhausting to return by in Asia. Protection is basically absent outdoors of huge metropolitan areas like Singapore and Tokyo. That stated, the app does work throughout a lot of the US and Europe. Nonetheless, in case you’re coming from an unsupported metropolis, you wouldn’t know to make use of it except you get a useful tip like I did.

Extra choices: The best transit apps on Android

Limiting protection to massive cities is intentional, although. Citymapper doesn’t provide driving instructions in any respect, so it’s virtually ineffective in case you’re utilizing a automobile to get round. As an alternative, it focuses on only one side of transport: mass transit. Consider it as the alternative of Waze, however simply as efficient.

Citymapper’s unique give attention to mass transit makes it excellent for giant cities, but dubiously helpful wherever else.

The app’s singular focus is probably going why it managed to supply higher transit information than Google Maps practically each time I used it. I’m not alone both — my coworker Rita lately talked about that whereas Citymapper was conscious of a quickly relocated bus cease in Berlin, Google was fully oblivious to the change. And in contrast to the latter, which steadily flip-flops between displaying and hiding transit information in smaller cities, Citymapper works reliably and constantly.

Reliability and consistency aren’t Citymapper’s solely benefits, although. The app’s person interface is an enormous motive why I favor it over another mapping service. Positive, it doesn’t conform to the most recent Materials Design tips, however I’m very happy to miss that contemplating how practical every thing is. Permit me to clarify utilizing Google Maps as a degree of comparability.

Open the Maps app in your telephone and also you’re offered with a reasonably acquainted interface. You get a search bar on the high, a full-screen map view of the realm you’re at the moment in, and some buttons to seek out close by eating places or parking spots. Citymapper, however, affords transit buttons and completely nothing else. You’ll be able to’t faucet on a enterprise for extra data, peruse restaurant menus, or get any type of personalised suggestions such as you would in different mapping apps.

That alone highlights a key distinction between the 2 apps. Whereas Google prods you to find new locations and see what’s round you, Citymapper doesn’t care about any of that. Actually, the one factor it may well do is get you from level A to level B.

Google Maps usually requires one or two further faucets to see data that Citymapper presents entrance and heart.

For instance, when you’ve chosen your vacation spot, Google Maps requires you to laboriously navigate to Instructions > Transit. Citymapper, in the meantime, will present you just about all strategies of transit instantly. It’s a small factor, however the latter’s interface is way extra handy if you have already got a vacation spot in thoughts (and I normally do when in a overseas metropolis).

Going overseas? A prepaid data eSIM is the most convenient solution for travel

Citymapper additionally manages to be way more informative than the competitors. As a vacationer in a brand new metropolis, I usually don’t know what to anticipate. How a lot change do I have to maintain prepared for my subsequent bus experience? Will or not it’s sooner to hire a close-by bicycle or moped? Do any ride-sharing services function on this metropolis? Citymapper reveals you all of this data on a single display screen. Simply have a look at the staggering variety of choices in London, most of that are absent in Google Maps.

To Google’s credit score, I’ve discovered that Maps has gained lots of Citymapper’s finest options through the years. However even then, some implementations feel and appear like an afterthought.

Take subway entry and exit suggestions, as an example, which make sure that you don’t need to cross a busy avenue at floor degree. Although Google Maps matches Citymapper now, the data is buried deep inside a wall of textual content. I don’t have to explain how a lot clearer Citymapper is on this regard; simply check out how each apps current the identical data:

An analogous diploma of consideration to element extends throughout many different elements too, which you’ll possible respect no matter whether or not you’re an area or a vacationer. For instance, the app realistically takes avenue crossings and platform strolling instances into consideration. In different phrases, it doesn’t anticipate you to teleport right into a practice as quickly as you attain the station. It even tells you which of them part of the practice it’s best to enter so that you just’re closest to the exit while you attain your vacation spot.

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And I didn’t even get to speak about ancillary options outdoors of the principle navigation display screen but. The flexibility to share your live location together with the precise route you’re taking is basically useful, as is the “Fundamental Roads” characteristic that retains you strolling alongside, you guessed it, principal roads.

How lengthy it’s going to take opponents like Google and Apple to completely catch up in these areas stays to be seen. Nevertheless, it’s clear that Citymapper at the moment holds a definitive lead within the non-driving navigation area.


Reward apart, I’ll admit that Citymapper isn’t a full-fledged substitute to your present mapping app of selection. It’s additionally value acknowledging the chance that somebody could have had the alternative expertise as mine. Google Maps or a special app might very properly serve extra correct transit data; I simply haven’t seen it occur but.

Have you ever used Citymapper for public transport instructions?

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You can also’t use Citymapper to resolve the place it’s best to spend your night. Google will fortunately level you to dozens and even tons of of bars in your neighborhood. And extra importantly, it may well provide dependable turn-by-turn navigation for when you’ve got your individual car. Having stated that, in case you’re dedicated to public transport and have by no means tried Citymapper in your travels, I extremely suggest giving it a go in your subsequent journey. It could very properly prevent numerous confused wandering and frustration.

Extra options: The best GPS apps and navigation apps for Android

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