Calls for accessibility information to be part of Bus Open Data Service

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Mobility as a Service (MaaS) provider SkedGo has echoed calls by Lord Chris Holmes to make transport operators provide accessibility data as part of the English Bus Open Data Service (BODS).

BODS provides bus timetable data for bus services in England. The first set of requirements for operators to publish route and timetable data came into effect in January this year. Fares and location data will follow in 2021, and complex fares data in 2023. Operators can publish the data through a service provided by the Department for Transport (DfT).

But Sandra Witzel, Head of Marketing at SkedGo, says DfT must revise its laws around BODS to provide data on accessibility of vehicles and bus stops for persons of reduced mobility.

“The new laws don’t compel operators to disclose whether vehicles and bus stops are accessible. We’re backing the call by disability campaigner Lord Chris Holmes for the DfT to set a timeline for operators to publish this data. One billion people worldwide live with a disability and sharing greater accessibility information will open up their public transport choices.”

SkedGo, which works with Leicester City Council, already uses information from the TripGo journey planner to show residents how they could reduce their car use and includes routes with accessibility options. The data allows passengers to reroute their journey should they encounter accessibility problems.

Adds Ms Witzel: “Our work has proven that open accessibility data can benefit everyone – from passengers with limited mobility, to parents with small children and users with ‘hidden’ disabilities, such as a fear of crowds. An inclusive approach will boost passenger numbers and support the recovery of the transport industry after COVID-19.”

DfT says it continues to revise the requirements of BODS and may consider how to provide accessibility data in a later stage.