Have you ever got on the tube only to find, having alighted at your stop, that you are miles from the exit? This is the iPhone app for you.
The brainchild of entrepreneur and Londoner John Harrison, TubePro is an easy-to-use iPhone app that tells you which carriage to board to get you to the right exit and the speediest route to your next platform, knocking up to 20 minutes off your journey time.
"I first came up with the idea in 1998," says Harrison, who built the iPhone app from scratch this year. "I started working on a booklet to tell you where to stand on tube platforms to get the right exit. I was an ex-student with a lot of time on my hands. I must have covered about 70 per cent of the tube stations."
But, as happens with many bright ideas, the project then fell by the wayside. The London underground system was extended and Harrison got caught up founding other businesses. "I always carried my little notebook round in my wallet though," says Harrison. "And when I sold my last business in March, I decided it was time to pursue my tube guide idea."
Rather than publish a booklet as orginally planned, Harrison decided to design an iPhone app. Using just under £5,000 of the proceeds from the sale of his last business, he developed the TubePro iPhone app. "People always say that everybody has a novel in them," he says. "I think everyone has at least one iPhone app."
The process was quite arduous. "You have to register as a developer on Apple," says Harrison. "That takes a while. Then you submit the iPhone app. Then there’s to-ings and fro-ings with various codings that relate to your membership, which usually take about two weeks to approve."
The TubePro iPhone app finally launched on the Apple App Store last month. "We’ve covered all 280 tube stations," says Harrison. "It’s the largest underground system in the world."
TubePro is currently seeing around 100 downloads per week. "It takes time for the online community to spread the word," says the iPhone app entrepreneur. "I’m probably not going to be able to retire on the proceeds. It’s more the fulfilment of a dream."TubePro iPhone app reviewWhat does this app do, then? The iPhone app lets you input your route (the line and direction of travel) to find the best exits for changes and destinations.
Who’s it for? Anyone who wants to shave some time off their journey and hates walking miles out of their way on the underground. Useful for concerts and public events: don’t get caught in the crowd.What’s so great about it? It’s designed to use one-handed, so even if you’re carrying a briefcase or a latte, using TubePro’s a cinch.
What do you hate? As a Londoner, Real Business jealously guards its native knowledge of the Underground. Now, alas, its clever tricks are available to all. Stations are in alphabetical order not tube line order. Why?!
Top tip: Use it before you travel to avoid falling into the tracks.
And now for the ratings! All star ratings are out of five.
Can’t live without or back of the drawer?Usefulness: ****
Easy to use? Or more complicated than Jedi Scrabble?Usability: ***
Kerching?Value for money: ****
Bringing sexy back?Appearance: ***
Tool or toy? Tool.
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