The Nokia N9 is, as we all know, a wonderful phone. But its main drawback, even after nearly a year since its first announcement, is the lack of big name apps. Even Nokia themselves have not been all that forthcoming with their own apps for the N9, and we are missing good ones like Nokia Reader, which would really be nice seeing as there isn’t a Kindle app for us either. But that aside, they have come up trumps with this app: Nokia Public Transport (NPT).
I used this a little on my old E7 before that went the way of many people’s phones when the purchased their N9s. It was fine, but the E7 was slow and I couldn’t be bothered to wait for things to load up within this app, so I didn’t use it very often. NPT was also in its infancy and so the mapping ability and public transit schedule crosschecking wasn’t optimized. But NPT is great to use on the N9, and here I’ll take you through why you should use it. Of course, you do have to be in one of the urban areas that it covers, but the list is already quite long. I live in New York City, and so I put it through its paces while it navigated me through the city on the MTA buses and subways.
The app starts up quickly and you’re given the option to select the area it thinks you’re in, (based on GPS) on a welcome screen. Choosing to view the areas covered you can see that, while the list is not long, many major cities are covered, in different countries, which is a good start.
The app works in two ways, really. Firstly, you can use it to see what kind of public transport options you have in your current location, and it’s detailed enough within the app for you to see when the next bus or train is leaving, or see that you’ve got 10 minutes to stroll to the station or bus-stop to catch your chosen method of transport. This is superb. I often find myself in places around New York City, and I am not very good at remembering the subway connections or which bus to get, etc. NPT knows where you are because it utilizes the GPS in the N9, and then gives you many different transport options in the local area. This also depends on your settings preferences, which I have down as just buses and trains, as I don’t really need ferries or streetcars listed, and I wouldn’t ever use mainline trains on my excursions to try new pubs downtown! Selecting just these two keeps things simple for me. But if you live in a suburban area and you were traveling into the city, this could be really cool.
You can see from the screenshots that you have the choice to see the scheduled times of the next trains and buses (and where they are headed) or, if you prefer, how many minutes are left before they depart. I’ve also shown what you might see if you select trains and buses, or just trains from the transit mode selection page. This is handy if you know you want a train, and don’t want the information cluttered with bus times.
The second way NPT works is really awesome. It’s an excellent journey planner, very similar in function to HopStop (no, the N9 does not have that app!) or getting directions via Google Maps. But I find using NPT the simplest way to get the info you need on getting somewhere in the city without downloading and navigating a huge map, or having to go on the web to find out, which can be laborious sometimes. However, this feature of NPT is great.
As you can see from the screenshots, after you’ve entered the address of where you want to go, the app knows your current location and gives you the options to travel on your method of transport, based on your preferences of train, bus & train, ferry, mainline train, etc. Of course, as any city slicker will know, sometimes this involves you having to walk between different stations, and NPT shows your entire journey, including walking. It gives you plenty of options: earlier and later journeys, different ways to get there with detailed timings and distances. The whole thing is very clearly set out and easy to read, and it is very quick and responsive. Works like a charm!
Another useful feature within NPT is the ability to have the app map journeys out for you using Nokia Maps. I don’t use this much as I have a decent idea of where to go once I’m given the route of my journey, but if someone wasn’t familiar with the streets or where to turn etc., then this is useful to see the trip on a full map with voice navigation. It’s a personal preference though, but I don’t like walking around the city with my N9 out on display, listening out for “now turn left”. Knowing my luck, it would be a matter of time before my phone was snatched from my hand, never to be seen again. A word of caution: cities are full of thieving b*stards, be wary with your precious N9s!
Nokia Public Transport is a superb app, and it is reliable, to a point. It would be an ideal world if your phone said the next M86 bus departed from that stop over there in 5 minutes. Don’t be too surprised if you end up waiting 18 minutes for said bus – Nokia have produced a great phone and a great app, but they can’t control NYC bus drivers! Buses actually sticking to a schedule? Hmm. Now that really would be useful!
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Please note: Prior to undertaking any modification detailed above, understand that there are risks involved. Whilst every modification has been tested to work on the author's Nokia N9, there are no guarantees it will work on a different Nokia N9 or other mobile phone. EverythingN9 will not take responsibility for any effects of a mod, including hardware or software damage, telecommunication charges, or legal implications.