SBB – App Review
The Elevator Pitch
It is almost useless reviewing this app since it probably already has a place of prominence on the phone of everyone reading this review but the new version is so elegantly designed that we should do a run down for those who perhaps don’t use it enough.
The SBB app is the official app for Switzerland’s transportation system; the trains, boats, buses, trams, subways, and cableways. It is the most useful app available for getting from point A to point B if you are not using an automobile. And the updated version which was launched in 2017 is about as usable as a travel app can be.
Functionalities and Scenarios
Standard and Touch Timetable
The new feature that has gotten the most buzz is the touch timetable which allows you to simply swipe between two locations in your personalized interface which brings you instantly to the next trains between the locations. It’s so elegant and works so quickly that one can find yourself trying it out even when you aren’t planning a journey. And by selecting the pencil icon in the lower right side of that screen you can customize your locations to include your most frequent destinations. Most destinations have default images but you can select your own image from your photo library. You’ll see in the featured image above I’ve included an image of the gemeinde flag from the village of Ballwil in lieu of a photo of the train station itself. You can also change the size and location of each destination to suit your needs. The standard timetable works as one would expect allowing you to select the from/to, time & date, and also which modes of transportation you would like to include in your search.
When you are planning your journey the amount of information captured in each option is remarkable given the screen size allotted to each connection. This is an extremely well-thought out app. Each connection shows you the duration, number of connections, departure/arrival, estimated availability in both 1st class and 2nd, the departing platform, and any indication of the walking distance at the beginning or end of your journey.
Selecting an individual connection takes you to another screen with even more details and also includes maps you can toggle up showing the walking routes between the connections. And by selecting the 3 dot icons near the top right you have the option of adding this connection to your Trips (which will then show up on your home page), exporting the itinerary to your phone’s default calendar, or sharing via a messaging app of your choices.
Lastly, you can quickly and easily purchase your tickets directly from this screen. You will want to set up your profile (by logging into your SwissPass account) and can easily select the types of tickets you want and purchase with your payment method of choice.
The app uses your GPS to determine your location and once you have set up your SwissPass account it is personalized for your use. Also, in Settings / Edit Start Page you can customize what will appear on the home page of the app which is a convenient feature.
All in all the SBB app is a pretty standard transportation app but what separates it is the elegance of the design, the ease of use, and the attention to detail which pervades every corner of the app.
Price : Free