Rounding out the year, our editors here at Softonic decided to take a look at some of the best apps of the year for our Best apps of 2014 series. Our panel of our expert app reviewers discussed, at length, the best mobile apps of the year in 8 different categories, voting and finally agreeing on the top 5 apps in each category.
When it comes to travel and transport, one thing is clear: people want convenience. With that in mind, our review editors were able to whittle down their extensive list of favorite travel and transport apps of 2014. Not only did they consider apps that were released in 2014, they also considered apps that got huge updates this year, or made big news for one reason or another.
At the end of the day, one app came out on top as the best travel and transport app of 2014: CityMapper. Read on to find out why, and see the other 4 apps that rounded out our top 5 list of the best travel and transport apps of 2014.
The completely integrated public transport app from London made big waves this year, winning Best Overall Mobile App during February’s Mobile World Congress. And for good reason. The app provides an almost flawless public transport experience, giving you multiple options to get from point A to be B with real-time updates using data fed from each city’s public transport data centers. Once you’ve used it, it’s almost impossible to imagine life without it.
CityMapper added over 10 new cities to the app just this year. The full list of cities now includes the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, New York, Washington DC, Chicago, London, Barcelona, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Mexico City, and Tokyo. The way CityMapper chooses cities isn’t arbitrary either- users have the opportunity to vote for the city they want to see within the app and choose based on highest demand. If you want to see your city on CityMapper, you can vote for it on their website.
Bringing back the tradition of old school paper maps to your smartphone, Maps.ME was a top contender for our favorite transport and travel app this year. It’s downloadable, offline maps saw huge success this year, with users going crazy over maps that let them once again traverse unknown cities without having to rely on Wi-Fi or expensive data usage.
What makes the app standout from other offline map apps is not only how many apps are available (everywhere in the world), but also its speed and detail.
The good old classic Google Maps again got a huge mobile face lift this year for both it’s iOS and Android versions, adding a ton of new features. ‘Explore’ was added to take on apps like Yelp and Foursqaure, showing you different places around your area to eat, drink, and be merry. It also integrated apps like Open Table to let you make a reservation, and Uber, to order a taxi, directly within the app, making Google Maps more robust than ever.
The personal taxi app expanded a lot this year since its humble beginnings. With a presence in over 100 cities ranging 40 countries, Uber become almost synonymous with the word ‘taxi’ this year. Touted as the ‘afforadable alternative’ to taxis, Uber got a lot of flack this year for it’s surge pricing model (sending rates sky high), as well as more drama over taking jobs and a lack of regulation from regular taxi drivers in cities where Uber is still fighting ‘the system’. Regardless, the app has continued along its road to success this year, making improvements like adding real-time ETA, and a new feature called UberPool for carpooling.
Much like Uber, Airbnb got a lot of publicity this year for a few reasons. The travel booking service that lets people rent out their apartments or homes to adventure-seeking travelers has gotten a lot of criticism in various cities for circumventing tax laws, and as the service continued to expand this year, so too did its prominence in the news. Still, the service has seen unprecedented growth this year despite all the controversy.
On top of that, the app got a fresh redesign with a brand new logo, another point of contention in the media. Despite all the media buzz, the app and service were updated to make it more user-friendly and safer for renters and guests, including verified IDs, both on and offline, and anonymous email verification.
Immediacy is key for 2015
Convenience and immediacy is the absolute key to success for a travel and transport app. People want something that’s easy to use, without having to put much thought into it, and they want it now. Want a taxi? Get one with Uber. Want to get home? Get there even easier with CityMapper. For both apps, all it takes is the push of a button to get you where you need to go.
For a travel and transport app to be able to compete with the ones on this list in 2015, it’ll have to offer nothing short of an amazing and immediate service that not only thinks of every alternative, but can get you there, ASAP.
Check out the rest of our Best apps of 2014 series.
Follow me on Twitter: @suzieblaszQwicz