You know the score when it comes to commuting in a city – constant heavy traffic and clogged pavements, and everyone competing to get to their destination on time. The electric scooter for commuting is great for getting you out of a jam but with Elka scooters, you’ll have an extra battery pack too. And that means you don’t have to stick to the same route every day. You’ve got your wheels, you’re in control, all you need now is a navigation app to avoid travel disruption and to venture to horizons new.
Do you need navigation apps when using an electric scooter for commuting?
A navigational app is not a necessity when you buy an electric scooter for the daily commute because you could stick to the same first or last mile route every day. It makes sense, we grant you, to stick with what you know.
But there are times when bottlenecks slow your journey or disruption means you have to alter your route completely. From demonstrations to victory parades to terrorist incidents, the effect on overland public transport, as well as the tube and rail network, can make getting out or into the city problematic. For example, the recent Extinction Rebellion climate change protests brought inner-city London to a halt. Commuters and visitors found navigating the streets of the city nigh on impossible and when something does come along to disrupt your daily commute (and it will), finding an alternative route can be difficult.
It doesn’t matter how long you have lived in the city, there will be streets you don’t know and routes you are unfamiliar with but venturing off the beaten track, you may think, is not possible with a scooter. We’ve solved that problem with a spare battery back. All you need to do is keep your scooter charge topped up and the spare battery in your backpack and when congestion is worse than usual, or there is a problem on your normal route, you can take a slight detour.
You’ll love the freedom that the electric scooter offers for roaming a little further because the electric scooter is not just for commuting. A quick trip to the shops, a convenient way of getting to the gym, to meet friends for a drink or coffee with a business client, you’ll find more and more uses for your electric scooter as you continue to ride.
We want you to fall in love with the commute again and so apps that help you find your way around, take the scenic route or get you out of a jam are certainly worth a second glance.
Taking a look at the best navigational apps for Android and iOS, we have highlighted those that come highly recommended.
But before we plunge in, let’s ring a note of caution: currently, navigational apps are designed with car drivers in mind. Some relate specifically to cyclists, whilst other navigational apps reach for the combined driver and cyclist approach thus, app features are specific to these groups. Some London apps specifically target those unfamiliar with the city, the day visitor or the tourist from foreign climes. Again, features are included to appeal to them and what they need an app to offer.
That said, the seven apps we’ve chosen to highlight have clever features that the electric scooter commuter can and would find useful and interesting. Until there is an app specifically for the electric scooter riding community, enjoy these apps and what they have to offer.
Most likely, Google Maps is already on your phone which is why it outstrips other online map providers with 154 million unique visitors a month and so getting yourself out of a jam should be relatively simple – just open the app on your phone, enable GPS and you have a real-time navigational tool at your fingertips. In 2012, Google added a direction function for cyclists which could be useful for city electric scooter riders although there are shortcomings (according to cyclists). Google Maps is an app describes by cyclists as being ‘geared for car drivers who occasionally cycle. In other words, it provides the most ‘convenient and comfortable’ cycling routes, usually following busy main roads, although most cyclists want the safest route or the quietest one. There are other ways in which it lets cyclists down - and by default, electric scooter riders too - such as spoken instructions not always being clear (“head west” is fine if you know where west is) or instructions being nonsensical, such as cutting across a dual carriageway.
Great for finding the fastest route, there are other apps that could work better for commuting on the electric scooter.
Self-proclaimed it may be but we like the confidence behind their claim their app is “the world’s best route planner”. Similar to Google Maps, it turns your smartphone into a sat-nav, complete with voice commands. Unlike other apps, however, Komoot doesn’t just give you the quickest route but a range of different routes (take note Google Maps!).
If you want to explore a new route home after work – and heck, why not? – then this is the app that will give you options. Commuting on an electric scooter is not just about getting somewhere quickly but to inject joy back into the twice-daily journey to and from work.
This desktop and phone app is specifically geared toward cyclists and hikers, so some of the off-road options are not for use on an electric scooter. That said, most cycling forums agree that as a navigational app goes, it is one of the best out there. You’ll need to unlock some maps although you can have a single region for free. Not an expensive app by any means if you decide to unlock more mapped regions, each map currently costs £3.99. The global package is one-off cost of £29.99, a great idea if you travel (with or without your scooter). There is talk of Komoot possibly becoming a subscription service and so if you plan on giving Komoot a try, do so now.
Worth a go? Komoot is certainly worth a look – and not just for scooting to work either.
Originally a GPS software concept developed by an Israeli company, Google acquired Waze in 2013 and has grown considerably since. Geared toward the car user in the city, it is an app that encourages people to interact, sharing information on what’s happening on the roads. It also encourages commuters to car share in an attempt to reduce travel costs, pollution and congestion in the city. Cyclists are also turning to Waze for real-time road information.
You may think that this community-driven app, as it describes itself, doesn’t have much for the electric scooter commuter. That said, there were projects that looked at adding specific cycling routes to Waze but as yet, even though cyclists do use Waze, it doesn’t quite have everything you need for electric scooter commuting or venturing.
What cyclists (and walkers) find useful is the interactive Waze community. With updates of what’s happening in your locality, you can contribute too. Essentially, this app is as much about information sharing as it is about finding your way around.
The live map search is only as good as the information that commuters share but for the electric scooter commuter in the city, you could avoid potentially very busy areas by keeping up to date in real time as to what’s happening. Worth a look if you need to get from A to B quickly, download Waze to take a closer look, but there are other, better apps for the commuting and venturing on your electric scooter around the city.
Describing it as a must-have app for the London commuter, Citymapper is specifically geared toward public transport in the city. In fact, it says, anyone who commutes in the capital needs Citymapper on their phone.
Getting around any major global city, London included, has become more complicated in recent years. Along with problems on the underground network, roads are increasingly congested, as we know. Throw in terrorist attacks, some of which have hit London in recent years, and anyone who navigates the thronging streets of the capital will appreciate just how difficult it is to find a different route.
Citymapper wants to solve this problem by offering an app that gives commuters all the options for moving around. Essentially, electric scooters for commuters do the same and thus Citymapper could be a useful app to have on your phone. Get all the latest information and up to date travel news for problems on the network and roads, meaning you can avoid it as you scoot your way to and from work, with Citymapper.
This is a paid for app (currently £10.99 but check before you buy) and as you would expect, you get more for your money than some of the free, in-purchase apps. The CoPilot interface has the same level of detail as GPS systems such as TomTom, with high-quality graphics and other information. There are sidebars showing delays on the roads and where there is congestion, perfect for electric scooter commuting and avoiding disruptions. Users rate it as 4.5 stars out of 5 which shows the quality of the app, especially as it comes up with alternatives routes and not just the shortest or quickest.
Talking you through a route it helpfully repeats the street names before you make your turn, a feature that certainly helps as you commute through very busy areas. You can also download maps to your phone for ease of navigation, a feature that many cycling websites and forums have tried out and, along with voiced instructions, have given the CoPilot app the thumbs up.
According to users, the app from mapping giant HERE impresses on all kinds of fronts. As well as a clear map layout, directions are easy to follow at-a-glance, again making it perfect for when you are on the move.
HERE WeGo is available on both Android and iOS and gives you three choices of routes, highlighting traffic and congestion along the way. Accurate in identifying where there are problems, it also has another feature which you could find useful – and not something you’ll find on the others – and that’s house and building numbers on the map too. Maps can be used offline too, great for saving on your phone data.
Sticking with offline maps for a moment, Navmii is similar to Waze in that it is an active community in which drivers report on congestion and other problems on the daily commute, in real time - although there is nothing stopping the community of electric scooter users from doing the same. Currently free, it uses mapping resources from OpenStreetMaps.
With a clear layout, the app can be incredibly useful except – and this is The Big But with this app and others like it – how useful depends on the number of users and how interactive they are in feeding into the map. It does have 23 million people users worldwide and is now positioned as a comprehensive and well-used sat nav tool.
With a supportive forum, it’s only a matter of time before Navmii for Scooters comes along...
5 more apps for city living and electric scooter commuting
As we said, we’re reclaiming the daily commute as something joyous, rather than the daily grind it can become. Thus these four apps are perfect for commuting and venturing around the capital on your scooter.
Best Coffee is a brilliant app that lets you find the best coffee houses and cafes on your daily commuting route. With cafes included across London, no matter where your commute takes you in any given day, you’ll find great coffee on the way.
If you love street art then the Street Art London app guides you to enjoy some of the best art on the streets of the capital. Again, it covers the whole of London as well as highlighting the work of talented street artists, adding more joy, more colour and more culture to your daily commute.
Weather doesn’t need to be problematic for commuting on your electric scooter either, not when you have DarkSky on your phone. Giving you hyperlocal weather information – specifically rain! – you can keep your weather-eye on the black clouds every day of your morning commute.
Sometimes, you need cash in your pocket even in the world of contactless payments. ATM Hunter allows you to locate the nearest ATM, although this app is currently only available on iOS at the moment, although there are equivalent apps for Android users.
Elka App v1
And finally, to keep you moving on your commute on your electric scooter or ventures locally, there is our very own Ride with Elka app, launching July 2019. When a mishap happens, as they do from time to time, help with repairs and maintenance of your electric scooter is a few taps away. Our app is packed full of features to help you get the most out of your scooter - including a one-tap button to order a replacement scooter (if yours is damaged) in 24 hours.
We’re always working to improve our app, and we’ve got a few features in the works for you - including our own customised navigation software, bluetooth, GPS capabilities and much more. Stay tuned!
There you have it, seven great navigational apps for getting you out of a jam and for venturing off the beaten track, taking in parts of the city that are new and unknown (to you, at least). As you do so, you might spot some street art or find the best coffee house in London.
Enjoy the ride!