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The Diary: Be appy - it’s a tram-endous idea

Students Robert Iball and Robert hardwick who have designed an App for the tram system in Sheffield

Students Robert Iball and Robert hardwick who have designed an App for the tram system in Sheffield

  • by Colin Drury
 

IT’S just three lines, a couple of dozen colour-coded stops and the trams generally run every five minutes or so.

Which you may think makes Sheffield’s Supertram network more or less foolproof. Not so, it seems.

Because these two students reckon they’re on the right track – after inventing a mobile phone app to help commuters negotiate the system.

Sheffield Tram Finder enables users to plan journeys, locate their nearest stop and view timetables. Sort of like, you know, a timetable.

But Robert Iball and Rob Hardwick’s invention has proven such a hit, global giant Apple has agreed to stock it in their online store.

Not bad for an idea the pair, who live in Upper Allen Street, came up with for their Sheffield University computer science degree.

“The Supertram is pretty easy to use but this is still handy,” says Rob, 22. “It gives you live information which ordinary timetables don’t. And it’s good for those unfamiliar with the network.”

Indeed, among the 40 people who have so far bought the 69p app, one is from Cyprus and one is from Germany.

“It’s nice to know you’re helping visitors,” says Robert, 21.

And now the lads plan to move on to bigger systems. They are to expand it to a UK tram finder, including information about every urban transit network in the country.

“There’s nothing like it available,” says Robert. “So we think it’s an idea with potential.”

 

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