One We Like: Citymapper

October 6, 2015

By Consulting Group

Why does this get a mention on a financial consultancy blog?  Having converted to an iPhone in January ’15 after 10+ years as a Blackberry die-hard I have had an amazing 10 months of new app experiences. Uber (leave for another day), Sonos, Spotify, Strava, WhatsApp etc are all good, but Citymapper stands out. Why?

With so much fintech competition, it can often be the detail that makes the difference and allows a new start up to compete with established brands. In the mapping area, Google so often wins in head to heads, but ultimately companies come along and challenge the status quo.

Citymapper does what it says. It knows your location in London, so all you need to do is put in your destination. So far so does Google maps, but this is where the comparison ends. Citymapper thinks for a while then gives you multiple options, with prices and times. In London these options include walking, Santander Cycles, buses, tubes, boats, trains, Uber and if inclined jetpack. It sounds simple, but lets look at a few areas:

Price Differential:

We like this because it ties in to one of our key service areas in retail finance – pricing. By giving clear indications of price options for example: walking – free, bus – £1.50, tube £2.30, boat £6, uber £11-£15 it immediately appeals to a broad set of clients that can all get specific value from it whether wanting to prioritise time over money or even health as it also includes calorie count.

City mapper 3 Citymapper 1 Citymapper 2

Referral and Detail:

I had happily used Google maps (even on the Blackberry), so why switch? Firstly, by being a quality product it was recommended to me (a key part of all start up retail fintech experiences). The simple ‘Get me home’, ‘Get me to work’ buttons shows they are dealing with real users and have thought about what we do every day of our lives… In terms of detail, if you are a tube user how often have you arrived at a station and then looked for the exit and found it to be the other end of a crowded platform? On the daily commute you know where to go, so why not on the other trips around London. Citymapper steps in here and tells you a. what end of the train to broad and b. when you exit which exit to use. If you are in London it gives you a Rain Safe route, if in Singapore a ‘Haze free route’. Simple, but smart.


If the service you are providing gives you and others an advantage, then individuals may be willing to help further improve it. In Citymapper there is a neat function that allows you to ‘improve data’. e.g. suggest front of the train, not the middle, use a different exit etc. Using its own customers to enhance the product through feedback. Again something that is a challenge for retail finance brands in a regulated environment, but something that should be embraced.


It has become an invaluable tool for the Black Swan Partners team as we plan our days running around town meeting clients and prospects seeing friends, going to sporting events, saving minutes every day and being such a good user experience that we even write this blog about it.

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