When the app craze exploded a few years ago, it took a while for the best NYC subway apps to be released. But now the app store is flooded with dozens of seemingly identical NYC transit apps. Some stand out as the cream of the crop, but others lag, or remain buggy—so which do you choose?
I set out to evaluate the best NYC apps for the iPhone, and after rounds of testing, I narrowed down my list to three NYC transit apps: two paid NYC apps and a free one. These were the finalists:
If you enjoy simplicity, this is the app for you. iTrans NYC was the best of the NYC subway apps, offering up the basic maps and service advisories. It’s quick, sharp, and well designed for a solid user experience. But what’s also neat about iTrans NYC is its service advisories page, which tells you when the alert was issued–so no more wondering whether that stalled train has been taken care of yet. No bells and whistles, here. Just a great, simple NYC app that gets the job done.
Just when you thought most of these apps serve the same functions, Exit Strategy NYC goes one step further. Just choose your destination and direction, and Exit Strategy will tell you which car to enter, lining you up with the stairs at your destination. (This is especially useful during rush hour, because now you can be the first to dash up). But that’s not all—now it’s easier to make a transfer or step off the train near an elevator. So whether you just need a bus map for Queens or an all-out exit strategy, this clever NYC app is just for you.
Embark NYC is without a doubt, the best-designed and most beautiful NYC transit app out there–all while retaining its speed and ease of use. This free app gives you quick, accurate subway directions that also take into account the train schedule. You can even text, email, or tweet the directions right from your phone! The only problem is—the directions don’t take service advisories into account, so you would need to check both before leaving. And as is the case with most free apps, you’ll have to deal with some ads—but the beauty of Embark NYC still manages to shine through.
There are days when I wonder what life would be like without smartphones. And with the ever-expanding app universe, it seems harder to find quality programs in a sea of mediocre ones. So next time you get frustrated with your NYC subway app that doesn’t work well, be sure to download one of these.