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Top 39 local public transportation iPhone apps recommended by city residents & visitors

by Shara Karasic

Get around any city from New York City to San Francisco to Shanghai with these handy iPhone local transportation apps, which let you navigate subways, trains, and buses like a pro. No more craning your neck in a crowded subway trying to see the name of the stop, wondering when the bus will come, or standing on a rainy street corner trying in vain to hail a taxi. Whether you are commuting to work or sightseeing in a new city, make the journey from point A to B simple. These are the public transit apps most listed and reviewed on Appolicious by those in the know -- city residents and visitors.

Public Transportation Apps, General

1. AllSubway (iPhone, $0.99)

Reviewed by world traveler katrinah: “During a recent trip to Washington, DC, I was trying to figure out where the U Street Station was on my paper map. I asked a fellow traveler and within seconds he was able to point me in the right direction, thanks to his AllSubway app for iPhone. I was so amazed to learn about AllSubway, an iPhone app that provides a guide to subways and train routes for over 100 of the world's most important cities. The AllSubway app is a must-have for jet-setters, and at 99 cents, it's the cheapest subway guide app in the iTunes store. Seriously, if you are going to Madrid, DC, London, or any other major city in the world, why buy a metro/subway app for each city? With AllSubway you pay once and you get all the metro maps in one app. Awesome.”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro

Listed by: scottparris

2. Amtrak (iPhone, Free)

Reviewed by Chicagoan comfypandabear: “Make your train reservations using this app--a must-have for anyone using Amtrak to travel around the country.”

Transportation Method: Rail

Listed by: doniree

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3. Cabulous (iPhone, Free)

Reviewed by Los Angeles native iamjan: “I can't believe how easy it is to use. You need a taxi? Call the driver directly. Definitely useful for the city dweller.”

Transportation Method: Taxi

Listed by: girlgeek25 and doniree

4. HopStop (iPhone, Free)

Reviewed by Seattle native jessicadally: “Really fantastic to get you around the city. It lets you choose a number of options including the types of transportation to include. Do you want to use subway, rail, bus, walking, taxi? You can make those choices with this app. Do you want to do more walking or make more transfers? That choice is also available. Do you have access to a private car for some of the trip? Cool, then turn that option on. The best part for travelers is that it allows you to see a map of where you’re going and the route you’re taking. This can be especially helpful if you’re a bit worried that you got on the right bus and just helps you know the city better than blindly traveling through it. For complicated trips, complicated areas or more extensive travel you’ll likely want this app in your library.“

Transportation Method: Subway, rail, bus, walking, taxi

Listed by: alanwarms, justatitch, notfortourists, jessicadally, and LizSnow

5. Take Me to My Car (iPhone, Free)

Reviewed by Los Angeles native jenniferbeese: “Best. App. Ever. I cannot tell you how many times I've lost my car - especially if it's a rental! This app allows you to drop a flag on your phone's map and save it for later. On your way back, this app will provide walking directions back to your car - hallelujah!”

Transportation Method: Car (parking)

Listed by: jenniferbeese, justatitch, and alizasherman

6. Taxi! (iPhone, Free)

Reviewed by Portland native doniree: “The best part about this app is the 'cards ok' icon that lets you know your cab company of choice will accept your credit card. There's no booking online through the app, but you can make the phone call from it. Also, there's a rating system for you to let others know how your experience was, which is really helpful.”

Transportation Method: Taxi

Listed by: doniree

7. Taxi Magic (iPhone, Free)

Reviewed by Santa Monica native Gabellini: “Avoid the turmoil involved in hailing a cab, and simply order one from your device. This is the first ever online cab system. You can also see all the Cab companies' phone numbers.”

Transportation Method: Taxi

Listed by: missmarisol, jessicadally, jenniferbeese, and tsudo

Boston Public Transportation Apps

1. OpenMBTA (iPhone, Free)

Reviewed by Boston native jenniferalaine: “The MBTA has a pretty decent mobile site, but this app is a much better solution. It shows the bus and train schedules, and also lets you know (based on your location) how much longer you have until the next bus/train comes.”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro

Listed by: jenniferalaine

Chicago Public Transportation Apps

1. Buster: The Chicago Bus & Train Tracker (iPhone, $1.99)

Reviewed by Chicago native ericbendy: “I use this app at least twice a day, on my way to work and on my way home. If you live in Chicago and take the bus, as I do, it is an invaluable tool. I have a choice of several bus routes and I use Buster, with its fast-load times and easy-to-read interface, to make quick choices on which bus to ride. This app easily shaves 5-10 minutes off my daily commute -- each way. That's well worth the $1.99 I paid for this.”

Transportation Method: Bus, Rail

Listed by: jenniferbeese

2. Chicago L Rapid Transit (iPhone, $0.99)

Reviewed by Chicago native snapcase07: “Chicago L Rapid Transit is a cool app to help fellow Chicagoans and out-of-towners navigate our transportation system. The augmented reality and live video are nice touches.”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro, Rail

Listed by: jenniferbeese

3. iTrans Chicago Metra (iPhone, $2.99)

Reviewed by Chicago native snapcase07: “I used to use the Metra all the time when I lived in the Suburbs of Chicago (Naperville, to be exact). I wish I had this app then. It comes with a digital train schedule (I always lost the paper schedules that you can get at the train stations). Solid resource for anyone commuting to or from the Chicago 'burbs.”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro, Rail

Listed by: jenniferbeese

Denver Public Transportation Apps

1. Denver Ride (iPhone, $1.99)

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro, Rail

Listed by: doniree

2. Denver Rail (iPhone, Free)

Reviewed by darthipad: “The train system isn't overly complicated, but this app provides a quick guide to it.”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro, Rail

Listed by: doniree

London Public Transportation Apps

1. BusMapper London (iPhone, $0.99)

Transportation Method: Bus

Listed by: wibo

2. London Bus (iPhone, $0.99)

Transportation Method: Bus

Listed by: clarksi

3. London Tube Deluxe (iPhone, $0.99)

Reviewed by London native clarksim: “Yes, it’s expensive, but the journey planning is great, especially if you do it before going underground, so it can take into account closed and delayed lines. Set it to warn you in the morning or before leaving work if your regular lines have delays on them. A very good-looking app. Put this together with tube exits and it would be the perfect app for tube journeys.”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro

Listed by: clarksim

4. London Cycle: Maps & Routes (iPhone, Free)

Transportation Method: Bicycle

Listed by: clarksim

5. London Tube Exits (iPhone, $0.99)

Reviewed by London native Airedales1998: “Really useful app - helps me make sure that I minimize time between changes on the Tube system and that frustrating moment where you realize that you now have to walk the length of the platform struggling through the hordes of other people who don't have this app!”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro

Los Angeles Public Transportation Apps

1. Go Metro – Los Angeles (iPhone, Free)

Reviewed by Los Angeles native lydia2: “Navigate the Los Angeles metro with this handy app! It includes maps, timetables, fare info, and a trip planner. If you don't have a car and you're in Los Angeles, this app will make your life a lot easier.”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro, Rail

Listed by: justatitch, lydia2, and Gabellini

NYC Public Transportation Apps

1. CityTransit – Official NYC Subway Maps (iPhone, $2.99)

Reviewed by frequent NYC visitor sharakarasic (moi!): “New York City subway maps, lines with stops, subway locations and service advisories. Maps and lines work even without Internet connection. Clean and useful app.”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro

2. Exit Strategy NYC Subway Map (iPhone, $3.99)

Reviewed by darthipad: “The train system isn't overly complicated, but this app provides a quick guide to it.”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro

Listed by: notfortourists

3. iTrans NYC Subway (iPhone, $3.99)

Reviewed by NYC visitor avivamo: “You can either carry around a giant foldable map that screams ‘tourist,’ stand there staring at the map while waiting for a train, or get this app (or one like it). Of the many NY transportation apps, I happen to like this one. Has everything I need: train times and drive/walk/public trans info (generally accurate). Oh, and works offline -- super important when you're stuck in the subway!”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro

Listed by: avivamo and doniree

4. NYC Subway 24-Hour KickMap (iPhone, $2.99)

Reviewed by NYC visitor Gabellini: “The subway is the easiest way to get around the city but if you aren't familiar with the times and routes then you'll have difficulty getting around. It's also the cheapest form of speedy transportation, next to biking.”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro

Listed by: notfortourists and Gabellini

5. NYSubView Pro (iPhone, free)

Reviewed by NYC visitor fiskadoro: “Yep, there's a lot of NYC subway apps out there, but check this one out because it's free and it works offline (unless you need updates).”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro

6. NextStop – NYC Subway (iPhone, free)

Reviewed by NYC resident timworks: “Beautifully designed and very clean, intuitive interface, this app works very well for NYC subway travelers. We all have are local knowledge about trains and tracks around the city, but sometimes you're in a neighborhood off your beaten path (and/or Path, pun alert). You need to know: when is the next train coming! How long until the last express? Things like that. This app is perfect for all your NYC Subway timing needs. It gets information from the MTA dB, so you know what they know. And: it works! Get it. It's must-have for New Yorkers. Just remember: check it before you go underground!”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro

Listed by: timworks

7. Roadify – NYC Subway, Bus, Parking & Traffic (iPhone, free)

Reviewed by NYC resident bbush904: “I like that the parking mode can work anywhere in the world. As head of my apartment complex board, our community has embraced Roadify so residents can exchange hard-to-find parking spots.”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro, Bus, Parking

Listed by: LizSnow

Paris Public Transportation Apps

1. Paris Metro (iPhone, $0.99)

Reviewed by Paris visitor justatitch: “I'm not the best at directions, and this app seems like it will make my travel much easier when navigating the Paris Metro system.”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro

Listed by: justatitch

Portland Public Transportation Apps

1. PDX Bus, MAX, Streetcar and WES (iPhone, Free)

Reviewed by Portland resident doniree: “Not just bus times and scheduled, but this also syncs with the MAX and Streetcar service. This app was a recommendation from a friend of mine when I mentioned wanting a better way to know the transit schedule in Portland. Also includes a Trip Planner, shows detours and rider alerts, and has a default bookmark that plans from "here" (wherever you are) to Pioneer Square - right in the center of downtown, and right next to connecting train and Streetcar lines.”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro, Bus, Streetcar

Listed by: doniree

SF Bay Area/Silicon Valley Public Transportation Apps

1. iBart (iPhone, Free)

Reviewed by San Francisco local katrinah: “I love this iBART app - a free app that provides the scheduled arrival times of BART trains in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you live in the Bay Area and ride BART, this app will make your commuting experience a LOT easier. Recommended.”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro

Listed by: gravesy

2. Transporter: Real-time Public Transit Designed for the Bay Area (iPhone, Free)

Reviewed by San Francisco visitor agentcoco: “If you're navigationally challenged as a pedestrian such as I, then please download this app if you're in the Bay area. A complete time saver!”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro

Listed by: agentcoco and gravesy

3. SF Railway Maps (iPhone, $0.99)

Reviewed by San Francisco visitor avivamo: “There are a handful of public trans apps for SF, but I dig this one because it has it all... BART, MUNI, Caltrain, and cable cars. Includes schedules (no internet required) and you can check out stops on a Google map. Plus the icon is better looking than the others (says me).”

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro, Streetcar, Rail

Listed by: avivamo and jessicadally

4. Pocket MUNI (iPhone, $0.99)

Reviewed by San Francisco visitor Gabellini: “This amazing app will help you get around Frisco via buses better than any type of bus guide. You have access to the location of any actual particular bus you're trying to get on, as well as bus routes, locations, route times and more, that make navigating around San Fran a cinch. The biggest problem I have with the Santa Monica bus system, which I use frequently, is how late or early the buses will arrive at a stop, a problem that would be eliminated if we had an app like this one.”

Transportation Method: Bus, Streetcar

Listed by: Gabellini

5. San Francisco Bike Maps (iPhone, Free)

Transportation Method: Bicycle

Listed by: avivamo

6. iCaltrain: Caltrain 2011 (iPhone, $1.99)

Reviewed by San Francisco visitor avivamo: “I use this app as a backup to SF Railway. Once you miss a Caltrain on a dark, cold night when another isn't coming for nearly an hour, you'll recognize the value of double-checking. This app is basic, but accurate. And that's what you want in an app like this anyway, right?”

Transportation Method: Rail

Listed by: avivamo

6. Parkzing San Francisco (iPhone, Free)

Transportation Method: Parking

Listed by: gravesy

Seattle Public Transportation Apps

1. One Bus Away (iPhone, Free)

Reviewed by Seattle resident jessicadally: “I had a great chance to use this app today as I rode the bus to work. It got the times for my bus correct and I was able to tell when it came…It didn’t seem to have any information easily available for the schedule, just what bus was coming next…basically it helps you if you’re in an area you’re not familiar with and looking for a bus.”

Transportation Method: Bus

Listed by: jessicadally

2. Seattle Bike Maps (iPhone Free)

Reviewed by Seattle resident jessicadally: “There is nothing on this app that isn’t available through the free bike maps you can get virtually anywhere. But the key to the iPhone is the ability to take this sort of information with you without hauling around pieces of paper and this is where this app excels. If you’re new to bike riding and want to find a bike route or explore a new trail and you don’t have the paper map with you never worry as this app will hook you up with all the routes around you. The routes are clearly shown on the map with an obvious legend that helps you identify what to expect: red for routes where you’re riding directly in traffic, yellow for routes where there’s a bike lane on the road and green for those lovely routes where you don’t have to worry about cars except at crossings. The only serious drawback of this app is that it stops quite literally at Seattle. So if you’re wanting to ride your bike to Marymoor park just know that you’re not going to use this app for that purpose. I’d love to see this expand to all of King County or eventually all of Washington. Heck, for that matter let’s get to work on making an app cover the entire US! There’s still a ton of great routes shown on this app as is, so get riding!”

Transportation Method: Bicycle

Listed by: jessicadally

Shanghai Public Transportation Apps

1. Shanghai Taxi Guide

Transportation Method: Taxi

Listed by: sharakarasic

Washington, DC Public Transportation Apps

1. Ride DC Metro (iPhone, Free)

Transportation Method: Subway/Metro

Listed by: jessicadally

More Transportation & Public Transit iPhone Apps from Appolicious Users:

Apps for Getting Around and Getting Parking in San Francisco

Best General Transportation Apps

Best Apps to Explore and Live in Boston

Best Apps for NYC Transportation

Chicago’s Best iPhone Apps

The Essential London Travel Apps

NYC Subway Apps

SF Bay Area Commuter Apps

Transportation Seattle Style

Add a list of the best transportation apps for your city!