Citymapper to launch licensed bus service in London

Transport app provider Citymapper has announced plans to launch a new night bus service in London after analysing data from its app and identifying an area that did not have enough bus coverage.

The company’s first commercial bus route, CM2 -Night Rider, will operate in East London, taking passengers between Aldgate East Station and Highbury & Islington Station, via Shoreditch and Dalston.

The new service has been given a six-month licence by Transport for London (TfL) and is expected to start in late August or early September, running from 9pm to 5am on Friday and Saturday nights.

Smart buses

Citymapper is partnering with existing bus operator Tower Transit to service the route, using a fleet of green buses equipped with smart tracking and management software.

Live data from the buses will show up in the Citymapper app, allowing users to follow them on the map and see accurate arrival times at stops. The app will also show seat availability, thanks to passenger counting software on board.

To keep the service running optimally and avoid several buses turning up at once, drivers will be given information on passenger count, routing issues and the location of other buses.

The new service follows Citymapper’s two-day trial in central London in May.


Citymapper chose the new route based on experiments using its ‘SimCity’ simulation software, which models transport networks in cities based on data collected by the company’s app.

In a blog post, the company explained: “We found central London fairly well-covered during the day by existing TfL services, but we identified bigger gaps in the night network. People in London are staying out later, especially in East London. For example there are more late night destinations on Commercial St, without any night bus support.”

“The emergence of the Night Tube has also encouraged late night mobility, but also exposed gaps in the supporting night bus network. We found Highbury & Islington Station (an important hub on the night Victoria line) with inadequate bus coverage linking east.”

The new service will use normal TfL stops, and passengers can pay with contactless cards or Apple Pay and Android Pay via smartphone. However, it won’t accept Oyster cards. Pricing has not yet been announced.

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