It's a terrifying scenario, familiar to anyone who lives near central London -- you're out with your buds, enjoying a beverage, but you can't quite relax because you're furiously working out whether you've got time for one more before the all-important last Tube leaves the station. Miss it, and you face the visceral horror of the night bus and its foul denizens. It's a nightmare situation, which seemingly has no solution. Enter Last Tube for iPhone.
What does it do?
Last Tube is an iPhone app that figures out where you are, and then tells you your three nearest Tube stations and when the last train of the day is set to depart. You can browse every Tube station in list view if you're looking for the last train from a station on a specific line -- perfect if you have the presence of mind to plan your journey home before you head out on the town.
Once you've set your sights on a particular station you can find it on a map, which uses the same technology as Apple's own map application. You're able to see your own location in relation to your target station, and overlay a satellite view for easier navigation. In short, it provides an answer to the eternal question, "Do I have time for one more?" Looks like we've got time for several -- your round, isn't it?
The glaring omission is an official Tube map -- it's all very well finding the last Tube from a particular station, but if you have no way of figuring out exactly where that train is headed, you may well find yourself slightly lost. We had a brief chat with Erik Carlson, the creator of Last Tube, who explained this omission was due to TFL having a policy of not allowing anyone to charge directly or indirectly for its property or API, which includes pay-to-download iPhone apps like this.
Carlson assures us he has a few workarounds up his sleeve to let users know the destination of that vital last train, as well as every stop you'll hit on the way, so rest assured these niggles will be addressed in future updates. He's also planning a few new additions that will make the most of the new features coming in thelater this year, such as using the new multitasking feature to keep the app running in the background and vibrating to alert you when time is running out to grab that last train out of town.
App Attack Verdict
Apps that help you navigate the London Underground are nothing new, but Last Tube's key feature of finding you that last train home is notably absent from its main competitors. At £1.19, Last Tube is a little on the pricey side, but it's a simple, intuitive application that will tell you what you need to know in seconds. Plus it guarantees you that one-last-pint peace of mind, and you can't put a price on that, surely?
Download Last Tube (iTunes link)