UK government launches Bus Open Data Service project

News

Bus passengers across England will soon be able to plan their journeys down to the minute thanks to a pioneering project to share bus data.

The Bus Open Data Service, announced by buses minister Baroness Vere, will standardise and openly publish information from operators, which will enable bus users to plan routes, understand costs in advance, and predict bus arrival times.

Information on timetables will be available from early 2020, followed by location and fares data during 2021.

Developers will be able to add the information into existing apps or develop new products.

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.”

The government said it hopes that the provision of live location data will boost passenger confidence, provide greater transparency across different operators, and help to keep fares down following years of fares increasing beyond the rate of inflation.

The Bus Open Data Service project follows the government’s recent announcement of new low-fare, high-frequency Superbus networks, Britain’s first all-electric bus town and contactless payments on every city bus.

The package, worth £220m in the first year, will create express lanes for buses in the West Midlands and elsewhere, and will invest in new ways of providing more frequent public transport in rural areas.

The government has also committed to the UK’s first-ever long-term bus strategy and funding settlement, including support for councils who want to create London-style franchised services in their areas.