Not content with helping Londoners navigate the city from their smartphones, public transport app Citymapper has gone and created its own bus service (a plan that, until now, was known as ‘Project Grasshopper’). It’s still in its testing phase, but the pop-up Smart Bus will serve the ‘CMX1’ route, running from Southwark to Blackfriars, west to Waterloo bridge, and along the South Bank until Wed May 10. Before you ask: no, they won’t be powered by robots, but corporeal human drivers.
The current route won’t get you very far, but as the Citymapper CEO Azmat Yusuf explained to WIRED, the app’s data system (known as ‘Simcity’) can identify ‘gaps in the system’ that London buses are not currently serving. ‘We can react faster to changes in the city than an agency would be able to do,’ he said. If TfL approves, there may even be a Smart Bus night route in the near future. More information is due to be released on Simcity, though we can confirm it has little or nothing to do with a certain anthropological video game.
The bright green 30-seater buses are free to ride, and are fitted with USB charging points and large displays advising commuters on where and when to get off. Citymapper’s demand data will analyse the real-time transport across the city and keep the driver informed about passenger numbers and traffic using a built-in tablet.
Citymapper has stated on its website that ‘reinventing the bus is crucial for the future of our congested cities’. It’s too early to tell if these green machines are part of the city’s transport future, but if they reduce the number of ‘this bus terminates here’ announcements, they might just win Londoners over.
Learn more about the Smart Bus here.
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