Project to collate and share bus location data launched

Buses Minister Baroness Vere has announced a ground-breaking project to standardise and publish information from operators, which will enable bus users to plan routes, estimate journey times and understand costs in advance.

The Bus Open Data Service, which will be launched in early 2020, will provide real-time bus location data so that passengers can travel with confidence. Information on routes and timetables will be available from early 2020, followed by location and fares data by 2021, encouraging more people to choose buses by making them easier to use than ever.

Developers will be able to add the information into existing apps or develop new products to improve connectivity for communities and encourage more people turn to public transport.

Transport Focus suggests that only half of bus users think that it is easy to stay up to date with timetables and fares, impacting the number of journeys taken and the user experience.

Baroness Vere said: “Buses are the most frequently used form of public transport – to get to work, to the library, to the doctors or to see family and friends. By harnessing the transforming power of data and technology we could be on the threshold of a golden age for buses. Sharing data on routes, bus locations and fares will give passengers even more confidence to ride.”

The announcement 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 is worth £220 million in the first year, and 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 the countryside and other places where conventional buses have dwindled or disappeared.