Buses to go open data with national DfT platform


The Department for Transport (DfT) has created a prototype bus open data service, tested by transport authorities and operators that could eventually provide national fare and journey times. 

Government officials intend to create a service that will eventually lead to new apps, products and services for passengers. The aim is to make the necessary regulations during Summer 2019, with a view to rolling out initial services in stages by 2021 and 2023.


The news follows a consultation on government open data plans building on the 2017 Bus Services Act, which gives the transport secretary the power to make regulations requiring operators to provide open data. 

The Government's consultation response states the 'digital service is currently in prototype and has been tested with local authorities, bus operators and application developers across England'.

The Government plans to create 'a Network Timetable Exchange (NeTEx) followed by a two-part implementation stage focussing initially on basic fares and tickets (also known as high demand fares and tickets), which would be required by the beginning of 2021'. 

This would be followed later by a requirement for bus operators 'to provide complex fares and ticket data by the start of 2023'.

Accessibility fail

While the Bus Services Act section 18 makes provision for open data, 'for the purpose of facilitating travel by disabled persons', the DfT's consultation response rules out including key accessibility information on bus stops, stations and vehicles in the first stage. 

It was considered 'too great an implementation burden for bus operators and so have opted to not include accessibility data in the requirements at this time'.

Protocols and hosting

The DfT will pursue a distributed data model - a majority of respondents supported - but to address concerns about smaller operators ability to host their own data, the Department has pledged to 'offer some hosting'.

A Distributed Data Model is one that enables the storage of data across multiple computers which improves performance at end-user worksites by allowing transactions to be processed on many machines, instead of being limited to one.

Bus operators will be required to provide routes and timetable data in the TransXchange format (the current industry standard for publishing route and timetable data).

However a number of issues require 'ironing out' before the bus open data regulations come into effect, DfT officials acknowledged.

'It is our intention to create a specific TransXchange profile for the Bus Open Data digital service which will specify mandatory and non-mandatory fields to ensure greater consistency across TransXchange files created by bus operators and local transport authorities.'

Real-time (but not in time)

The DfT has dropped ambitions to have real-time journey planning and instead in the first phase of the platform will require bus operators to provide Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) data only.

This would provide the opportunities for the market to 'innovate and create applications that could produce Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI) using AVL and timetable information whilst avoiding placing a disproportionate burden on either bus operators or local transport authorities'.

As part of a Post Implementation Review (PIR) in 2023/24, the DfT will consider whether it needs to change its approach to ensure passengers across England have access to Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI) regardless of where they live, work or travel. 

Fares and ticketing:

The (Network-Timetable Exchange data standard) NeTEx profile for fares and tickets data, for the bus industry 'will be developed in full by mid-2019 and implementation of the profile and requirements to publish fares and tickets data will be phased in, starting with basic fares data from early 2021' the DfT states.

This will then progress to complex fares 'from early 2023 to give bus operators time to upgrade their systems and upskill their staff'.

Officials also confirmed that Transport for the North and Traveline will collaborate with government 'to deliver a fare data build tool for the industry enabling bus operators to quickly and easily create fares data files, in the required NeTEx standard, at low or no cost to the industry'.

£4m for rural revolution

Buses minister Nusrat Ghani has announced £4m for the digital platform to provide location information about bus services – giving greater certainty to rural passengers about when their bus will arrive.

The platform enables app developers to use information from GPS trackers, which are already fitted to 97% of buses. This will provide a service which is available in some major cities. It will give people in other areas across the country, including rural and remote areas, the ability to plan journeys more easily.

Register now for full access

Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

comments powered by Disqus
highways jobs

Environmental Health Officers within Environmental Protection, Health and Safety and Food Safety

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£30,507 - £32,878
We expect candidates to have expertise or qualifications in one or more of the relevant areas of Air Quality, Acoustics and/or Contaminated Land. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Assistant Director

Hammersmith & Fulham London Borough Council
£92,826 - £111,231
This is an ideal opportunity for an expert waste management professional to make a real impact and to lead the service to outstanding. Fulham, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Hammersmith & Fulham London Borough Council

Environmental Health Officer and Grad EHO – Private Sector Housing with benefits*

Camden London Borough Council
£33,122 - £42,490
Exciting opportunity for a highly organised and enthusiastic Environment Health Officer or a newly qualified graduate working towards... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Director of Inclusive Growth and Public Sector Reform

West Midlands Combined Authority
The role requires someone with a talent for innovation and a passion for designing and implementing public services. West Midlands Region
Recuriter: West Midlands Combined Authority

Vehicle Technician x3

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,313 - £28,785 per annum
All Candidates must hold a clean category C driving licence (CPC not required). Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Ugobus Driver (multiple positions)

Essex County Council
Up to £18938.0 per annum
Primary locations will include Clacton and Harlow only. Please note that we have permanent, fixed term and relief contract opportunities on a part tim England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Corporate Director of Neighbourhoods and Climate Change

Durham County Council
You will manage a range of front-line services including bins and waste, transport, environmental health, technical services, partnerships and... Durham (County)
Recuriter: Durham County Council

Tenancy Enforcement Assistant

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£22.377 - £23.607
Looking for individuals who have an interest in the environment with good customer service skills, flexible approach to work and a good team player. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Head of Programme Management Office

Manchester City Council
£60,857 to £65,865
As the Head of PMO, you will define and maintain standards for project management within the Highways Service. Manchester, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Manchester City Council

Highways Development Specialist

Manchester City Council
£60,857 to £65,865
Seeking a highly capable strategic leader to join the team to develop our strategic pipeline of works and financial model. Manchester, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Manchester City Council

Civil Engineering Technician Apprentice

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£214 per week
Are you looking to gain vital work experience as an Apprentice? London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Assistant Planner/Planner

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £32,878
The ideal candidate will already have... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Principal Engineer

Liverpool City Council
£37,849 - £42,683
The successful candidate will... Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Environmental Health Officer (Food, Health & Safety) & Environmental Health Technical Officer

Dacorum Borough Council
£24,710 to £39,034
You will be highly motivated and be expected to deliver against a challenging work plan. London (Greater)
Recuriter: Dacorum Borough Council

Director of Public Health

Worcestershire County Council
Competitive Salary
We’ll look to you to take responsibility for the high-calibre delivery of... Worcestershire
Recuriter: Worcestershire County Council

Street Cleansing Operative Driver (Large Goods Vehicles)

Redbridge London Borough Council
£22,377 to £23,607
We are looking to recruit staff for both our day service and evening service. Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Street Works Officer

Enfield London Borough Council
£29,766 to £30,708
he Network Coordination Team are looking for an enthusiastic self-motivated person to join its Street Works Team. Enfield (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Enfield London Borough Council

Traffic Management Group Manager

Devon County Council
This is an exciting time for the Service with the immediate introduction of a new Permit scheme and significant programme of redesign and... Devon
Recuriter: Devon County Council

Principal Engineer (Highway Safety)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£30,507 - £38,813
Are you looking for an opportunity to work as a Principal Engineer, whilst still being able to develop your career and have a good work-life balance? Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Principal Engineer (Highways Operations)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£30,507 - £38,813
Are you looking for an opportunity to work as a Principal Engineer, whilst still being able to develop your career and have a good work-life balance? Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council