First, let us apologise to the 55 million Brits who don’t live in London, but this is a crucial article for those of us trying to get around the capital in this week's Tube strike. If you’ve never tried navigating a 2,000-year-old city of over 8 million people with minimal public transport, you’re lucky. The buses become overcrowded cages, and the streets are full of lost-looking locals learning how to walk again.
Anyway, it is possible to get around London without the Tube. Just download these three apps and let your smartphone guide you around the city effortlessly.
Free on Android and iOS
Normally, Citymapper is the best tool for finding your way through London’s complex network of public transport. But during a Tube strike, it becomes the best mapping tool for a casual walk to your destination.
Now, we know what you’re thinking – “But walking’s going to take forever compared to a bus!” That might not be the case. Cram 80+ sweaty people onto a bus that's stuck in wall-to-wall traffic and it becomes like hell on Earth. We’d definitely rather walk.
Of course, you could use Google Maps, HERE Maps or any other mapping app, but Citymapper tells you how many calories you’ll burn on your walk. That means when you get where you’re going, you know you can afford the calories that are in an iced latte.
Free on Android and iOS
If a walk really is going to take too long (living in Richmond or Stratford and walking to Bank would be ridiculous), use the Santander Cycles app to hire yourself a Boris Bike. The app lets you book bikes, shows you where your nearest ones are and even has a map to help you plan your journey.
The big advantages for cycling around London are that it’s fast – you don’t even get stuck in traffic – and it uses less energy than walking – so you keep cooler.
Free on Android, iOS and Windows Phone
Uber might cost a bit more than hiring a Boris Bike or walking (especially considering the peak fares the app will undoubtedly charge during tonight and tomorrow's rush hours), but is there any better way to escape the madness of the city than to sit in the back of an air-conditioned car? We think not.
If you’ve never used Uber before, it’s a brilliant app for getting a minicab. It uses your phone’s GPS to know where you are and then summons the nearest car to pick you up. You journey’s already mapped out through the app, which means you already have a good guide of how much it’s going to cost. And payment is all made through the app, so you don’t even need to have cash on you.