There are dozens of navigational apps available for your smartphone that are designed to help you find your way around Hong Kong. But many of these apps were programmed in other countries, and may not have the best information on how to get around the city.
Young Post reviewed four navigational and transit information apps to find out which ones are the most user-friendly, have the best functions, and have the most accurate information about Hong Kong.
The interface design is colourful and modern, and it’s very user-friendly, although sometimes the app will display too much information on the screen at one time, which can make it quite chaotic to look at.
In terms of functionality, Citymapper has comprehensive information on nearly all services in Hong Kong. It brings information from many different sources together on everything from transit lines and timetables to live departures and even tells you the best section of the train to be in so that you will be closer to your exit.
Citymapper suggests many alternative routes to get to your destination. Its map also provides walking directions, but it can sometimes lead you astray because of the complex system of footbridges and subways in Hong Kong.
Unfortunately, the app lacks information on fares, so it might at times suggest the most expensive routes.
Overall Moovit is very similar to Citymapper in terms of the functions provided, but the interface is organised into tabs at the bottom of the screen for searching routes, nearby stops and line information. This makes the app a lot clearer and easier to navigate than Citymapper, while still presenting a lot of information.
The routes suggested by Moovit are clear and easy to follow, and like Google Maps, the search tools make it easy to change your search preferences to find the best route for you.
Moovit also gives ultra-detailed information about timetables and live departure times, with the app providing timetables down to a minute in advance .
Like Citymapper, Moovit also gives you real-time guidance along your route, with alerts to remind you when to get off. It also has a page showing service status and disruptions for buses and trains, although some of the more detailed information is only available in Chinese, even when the app is mainly in English.
Google Maps has been around for nearly 12 years, and is one of the more popular navigational apps available.
The interface follows Google’s standard clean style and design, which makes it one of the easiest apps to use. Functions are hidden away in layers, and revealed only when you need it, so the interface isn’t overloaded with information. The app suggests a couple of different routes, and there are plenty of ways you can customise your route preferences based on the mode of transport you wish to take or if you prefer to walk less.
While Google Maps beats most of its competitors for simplicity and ease-of-use, it is let down by a lack of functionality compared to some of the other apps tested. The timetables provided are also nowhere near as detailed as Citymapper or Moovit. There is also no way to search for detailed information on specific lines or bus routes. The app will only direct you to the websites of the different transport operators.
This app was developed by the Government’s Transport Department, so you might expect it to have the most detailed and up-to-date information on Hong Kong transport. However, there are very limited functions and it lacks a lot of information.
There is no information on timetables built into the app, and you cannot set a departure or arrival time as part of your search. There are also no walking directions at all. You also cannot search for destinations based on the name of a shop or business, which is a feature available on all the other apps tested.
The interface isn’t too complicated to navigate, but the enormous text and strange colour combinations are very off-putting.
Despite its unattractive design, the app is the only one that includes information on the fares for all the different modes of transport, and allows you to sort your search based on the price of the journey. The HK eTransport app also has the most up-to-date traffic news and information, with live updates on major incidents, live traffic webcams and information about route diversions.