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Apple buys transit navigation service HopStop

Apple has acquired transit navigation service HopStop (opens in new tab), in a move to bolster its Maps app which has been criticised for its lack of public transport directions.

The HopStop app is a city travel service that shows users the quickest way to get around by bus, underground, foot, bike or taxi. It currently covers over 300 cities worldwide.

With a clear focus on guiding people around a city's public transport system, the navigation tool integrates HopStop Live, which provides real time service updates for bus, train and tube, although this function is only available in the US currently.

The app also includes public transport schedules and maps, as well as estimates for carbon emissions saved through choosing a certain route, calories burnt and taxi costs.

Apple's purchase of the app comes quickly after the company bought another location based service (opens in new tab), Locationary (opens in new tab), which focuses on providing information about businesses such as location and opening times.

Until September 2012, the iPhone Maps app was powered by Google Maps. Apple launched its independent service in order to remove its dependence on Google. However the app has had a series of problems since launch, and Apple CEO Tim Cook issued an apology (opens in new tab) "for the frustration this has caused", even suggesting rival products that customers could use.

Google Maps offers public transport travel directions and has extensive restaurant, shop and business locations integrated.

Google has been building its Maps service since 2005 and has extensively used satellites and cars to ensure accuracy, as well as provide Street View.

Although Apple does not have a Street View alternative, the app does provide sat nav style turn by turn directions and includes a feedback tool which allows users to report any inaccuracies.

Tomas is co-founder of Lucky Pilgrim, a team of journalists, photographers and art directors who connect brands to audiences through words, imagery and design. He was formerly editorial director at Chapel and managing editor at Courier magazine, and was a writer for ITProPortal as well as The Independent, EastLondonLines, The Sunday Times Magazine, and Croon.