2020 was a challenging year for the bus industry, with constantly changing operational concerns and new open data regulations introduced through the Bus Open Data Service (BODS) project led by the Department for Transport (DfT).
The BODS requirements aim to make it easier to find out about taking the bus, including how much a journey will cost, by publishing and storing England’s transport information in a standard format.
Passenger, who deliver apps, websites and data services to UK bus operators, has previously worked with the DfT to deliver a straightforward method to connect operators Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) data to BODS from SIRI-VM providers (including Ticketer, Init, Traffilog, R2P, Vix and new ticket machine provider Transmach).
Now, smaller bus operators can join Passenger’s myTrip platform and link their TransXChange data directly from Passenger’s open data hub. Each operator can also connect its AVL feed, in the SIRI-VM format, directly to the BODS system, such as in the case of Norfolk operator Coach Services.
“When the regulations were announced, smaller operators were worried it would be a time-consuming process on top of our already full workload. Passenger has made compliance with the new regulations easy and just another benefit of joining their myTrip platform” said Rob Crawford, Financial Director at Coach Services.
You can choose if you want to act as your own agent, or have Passenger take care of it all for you. Each time we upload data to myTrip it gets published straight to BODS automatically. It’s brilliant.”
As a BODS agent and data supplier, Passenger host and upload data and can manage BODS accounts on behalf of operators and local authorities.
Passenger will act as a BODS agent for any bus operator or local authority seeking assistance to meet the regulations, the transition period for which is currently extended to December 2021.
Across England, over 50% of public transport trips are made by local buses, and despite reduced travel due to Covid regulations and lockdowns, buses have remained crucial to keeping the country moving.
With operators providing data, the quality of information available to passengers will be better and more consistent, improving the bus travel experience for everyone. Transport for London (TfL) released its own open data in 2007 and found that routes with real-time service updates reported a 2% uplift in patronage (compared to routes without).
Passenger CEO, Tom Quay said “Cutting through the complexity of transport data standards allows us to deliver change more quickly. Ultimately that means making public transport accessible to more people, which is 100% our mission.”
Operators can sign up for a BODS account at publish.bus-data.dft.gov.uk using their National Operator Code. They can then authorise agents to publish data to the service on their behalf, by going to “my account” and selecting “user management”.