Citymapper’s pop-up ‘smart bus’ aims to be the future of buses
Citymapper, a popular app used to navigate around London, is trialling a “smart bus” for two days around the city.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the app’s CMX1 green bus will run on “the Circulator,” described as an “experimental popup route” in central London, starting at Southwark through Blackfriars Bridge, Somerset House and South Bank.
The “smartbuses” have a smart display that tells you where you are and what’s coming next. They also have USB charging for smartphones and tracking software for real-time integration with the app, which can count passengers, for example. They’re also smaller than regular buses.
“We built software for everything, including realtime operational control to driver management to scheduling systems. We’re reinventing how to think about all of these in the realtime world. We’ve taken systems that haven’t traditionally talked to each other and integrated them,” Citymapper said.
The company has built a simulation tool, codenamed Simcity, to evaluate routes by analysing in real-time the transport demand across the city.
Looking at data such as who gets on and off, where and when, Citymapper hopes to figure out how to improve existing routes and identify new and better routes in the cities.
Sounds exciting, right?
However, not everyone was hooked. As pointed out by Wired, which ran an exclusive on the buses, Citymapper has to totally rely on Transport for London (TfL) for the two-day popup trial.
But TfL, which issues licenses for private buses doing sightseeing tours, hasn’t issued a license for Citymapper buses (this is also the reason they’re free).
This is kind of bad news for the company, as no licence = no bus beyond a two-day popup.
Looking at the first social reactions, it looks like only journalists were riding it: