Bus Open Data service launches with legal mandate for sharing

Operators required to provide timetable data by December and other aspects during 2021

DfT has formally launched its flagship Bus Open Data project, which it says will “digitally transform the delivery of bus passenger information across England.”

Operators may now publish their data via the service. DfT is currently contacting them to invite them to do so. A variety of business change workshops will be held around the country from this month, involving operators and local transport authorities.

The requirement for operators to publish timetable data will be legally enforceable from December. In 2021 that requirement will extend to fare, ticket and location data.

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

From 2021, the government further expects that a range of apps will be on the market to allow passengers to manage their journeys on their smartphones.

Operators will be required to provide route and timetable data in TransXChange format. There is currently no standard way to store fare and ticket data. Because of that, DfT is creating its own standard, called NeTEx. Doing so is intended to allow the publishing of data in a standardised way.

Tools and free training to simplify the publishing of data via NeTEx and TransXChange easier will be provided, DfT adds.

Operators with over 40 routes can upload their data direct to the service, but those with more than that number will host it on their own web space and share URLs via the Bus Open Data service.