Bus operators running local services in England must publish timetables, fares and location data by 7 January, after which they could face legal sanction for failing to do so.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is collaborating with Mobility as a Service (MaaS) firm Moovit to help bus operators make information about services available through the new Bus Open Data Service (BODS).
Bus operators across England are legally required to publish and store information in the BODS standard format, providing a central source of timetable, bus location, and fare data that has the potential to give passengers accurate and up to date bus information.
The DfT has said the new rules will boost passenger confidence, and making fare data available should also increase competition and lead to lower fares.
With Moovit’s help, the BODS pioneer project from the DfT will also enable developers to add BODS information to apps and products.
Moovit said it is leveraging its technical expertise to help guide the DfT in making BODS information usable for MaaS platforms, as well as working with local transport authorities of all sizes to integrate their BODS data into the Moovit app.
Meera Nayyar, head of passenger experience (buses and taxis) at the DfT, said: ‘This will significantly further the ability of BODS to digitally transform the delivery of bus services and, ultimately, the passenger experience.
‘Moovit will help revolutionise the way in which the DfT, and other stakeholders, collect and analyse bus data, enabling us to identify network optimisations more easily and help us support operators in reporting their on-time performance statistics.’
Luke Redfern, UK partnerships manager at Moovit, said ‘Moovit and the DfT share a vision of simplifying urban mobility for millions of UK residents.
‘We are delighted to work at the forefront of the development of the world-leading BODS system with the Department for Transport, and bring confidence back to public transport riders as they navigate their journeys.’
Bus operators were legally required to provide timetable data by the end of 2020 and now have to provide fare, ticket and location data.
Moovit recently collaborated on a similar project with sub-national transport body Transport for the North (TfN) on TfN’s Open Data Hub, part of TfN’s £150m Integrated and Smart Travel programme.
From 7 January 2023 operators will be obliged to provide complex fares and ticket data.
Basic fares and tickets refers to the most common ticket types, such as single, return, and weekly passes.
Complex fares and tickets refers to more complicated ticket structures such as multi-operator passes
Under Section 155(1)(c) of the Transport Act 2000 (sanctions) a Traffic Commissioner (TC) can take necessary enforcement action against bus operators if the required information is repeatedly, without reasonable excuse, not received from the bus operator or local transport authority beyond the specified timetable.
Sanctions for operators may include a penalty fine, compensation to passengers or being required to spend money to make improvements to the service so that they avoid loss of repute and removal of the operator licence.
Beyond these penalties, a TC could also attach conditions to the operator’s licence.
The bus operators are liable for non-compliance of BODS.