Southern Vectis is the sole bus operator for the Isle of Wight, picturesque home to over 140,000 residents and a tourism trade of nearly 2 million visits per year.

The island-based operator became the sixth Go Ahead brand of its Go South Coast subsidiary to launch a Passenger-deployed website.

Due to the island geography, this website posed some additional challenges for the Passenger data team.

When the Commercial team at Go South Coast began to review the journey planning results, they could see immediately that the journey recommendations were not as they should be.

The issues were referred to the data team, to investigate the cause of the anomalies. Engineering Lead, Andy Leon comments: “There were a lot of issues involved. With so many contributors to OSM (OpenStreetMap), you see inconsistencies in the way things are tagged.

“In this case, there’s at least one very prolific contributor to OSM data in this area, whose practices differ to what we see elsewhere. The journey planner wasn’t able to recognise the way the map data has been described as being accessible for a bus.

One option would have been to go in and change this data, in a way that our system could better interpret. However, open data is subjective, and we wanted to avoid editing public data to resolve this.

screenshot of OSM data in Isle of Wight
Passenger uses open data tool OpenStreetMap (OSM)

“We have an automated pipeline for OSM data that takes the UK-wide OSM data, defines relevant map areas for each operator, and then applies certain steps to that data. To resolve this issue, we added an additional step to that pipeline that redefines the ominous tags to what we would have expected.

Should the data no longer require that extra step in the pipeline in future, the pipeline will automatically miss this process, as the data would already match the requirements.”

The new website features journey planning, live departures, service updates, tourist attraction information and more.

Nikki Honer, Head of Marketing at Go South Coast says:

“We are thrilled with the new website and really pleased the team at Passenger have been able to resolve the data issues we found as quickly as they did. As a result, we’ve been able to launch the new site on schedule and in plenty of time for the summer season when we will be welcoming a lot more visitors to the island.”

Aligning as part of the Southern Vectis bid to cut down waste, timetables can also be downloaded to PDF in an attempt to reduce paper. Southern Vectis have also provided ‘timetable recycle bins’ around various travel links and information centres to get passengers to ‘recycle’ their paper copies for others to use.

Check out the Southern Vectis website and please get in touch with the Passenger team to learn more about Passenger solutions.

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