Bus services to be ‘transformed’ as Open Data service goes live

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Bus passengers across England will now benefit from being able able to plan their journeys down to the minute as the Open Data project to share bus data goes live. Information on timetables will be available from this year, followed by location and fares data during 2021. Operators are required to make available their schedule data available via the TransXchange platform. Information can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/publish-bus-open-data.

Buses Minister Baroness Vere said: “We know the value of our buses – responsible for around 12 million trips a day, they take us on the everyday journeys that make up our lives. But we want to create a golden age for our buses, and we can only do this if passengers find them easy to use and understand how much journeys will cost. This pioneering project will bring transparency to passengers, boosting bus use and helping the sector thrive – just one example of how the government is harnessing technology to make journeys across the UK greener, easier, safer and more reliable.”

Johan Herrlin, CEO at transit data specialists Ito World, said: “Accurate, timely and rich public transport information is crucial in encouraging the use of public transport which, in turn, helps address congestion and pollution issues. We’re excited to be working with DfT to make this a reality. Developers will be able to add the information into existing apps or develop new products to bring the benefits to passengers across the country.”

David Beardmore, Commercial Director at the Open Data Institute, added: “We’re delighted to see this significant step forward. Consumers are the ultimate winners. Armed with better information, they can plan their journeys more easily and make better choices about tickets.”

The Bus Open Data Service will be followed by new regulations which will mean bus operators are legally required to provide timetable data by the end of 2020 and fare, ticket and location data by 2021. The new regulations will mean a better deal for bus passengers – providing live location data boosts passenger confidence and providing greater transparency across different operators will help to keep fares down following years of fares increasing beyond the rate of inflation.

The government will work with technology companies, app developers and information providers to ensure a range of innovative products are designed to make the most of the data and help all bus users make informed choices.