Navigating Sydney public transport

The 131500 iPhone app.

The NSW Transport Info site (131500.com.au) and its free app is a boon to anyone wants to catch public transport in Sydney. To someone like me who’s trying to exist without a car it is simply essential.

Using the system could not be easier, type in an address or even a major place for your starting point and destination, nominate a time and press ‘go’. You get a list of possible transport combinations and routes, complete with maps and directions. The layout on both the website and the app  is clear and simple. Using the app while travelling also allows you to see where you are on a route which can be very helpful if, for example, you are on an unfamiliar bus service. It even tells you how long it will take you to walk to the nearest stop or station.

Occasionally I’ve found that making a slight change to an address can give you significantly different options (for example, saying the destination is the local shops instead of the nearby school) but this hasn’t been a big deal so far and is not entirely surprising given Sydney’s complex public transport system.

The website can be a little frustrating because it does not remember your details. That means you have to type in the same things repeatedly if you use it a lot. There is supposed to be an option to save favourite trips, but that doesn’t seem to work. The app does much better on this front, partly because you can tell it to use your current location and partly because it remembers a list of destinations you’ve used before. That combination speeds things up significantly. On the other hand the app can sometimes provide you with suggestions for transport that has already left wherever you are, the timing can be a little dodgy. These are largely quibbles though, the system is great even ‘as is’.

Overall the transport Info site and app are essential tools for navigating Sydney. Now if only they could make the buses and trains run on time.

One thought on “Navigating Sydney public transport

Leave a Reply