Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) introduced ‘Intalink’ – England’s first Enhanced Partnership agreement between bus operators and local authorities – in April 2020. The Intalink Partnership dates back to 1999 when it was first established and became an Enhanced Partnership in April 2020. The partnership’s objectives include closer integration of the bus network and improving the image of bus travel by using data and information to better communicate with customers.
ATCO Transport Professionals, the association which brings together local authority officers and all transport professionals, highlighted Intalink as an excellent example of recent implementations in the ATCO webinar “What makes a good Journey Planner?” hosted by Hertfordshire’s IT suppliers, Passenger.
Following the announcement of the National Bus Strategy (NBS) in 2021, all operators must form enhanced partnerships and collectively author Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIP’s). BSIPs, as described by ATCO’s John Carr, rest on three main pillars:
- Agreeing and procuring a public transport network to meet the identified needs of an area
- Taking short, medium and long-term action to improve the speed and reliability of bus services
- Communicating with the general public, before, during and after their public transport journeys.
In 2020, Passenger was selected to build a contemporary, flexible and accessible multi-operator website that combined 25 operators across the ten districts in Hertfordshire.
Passenger’s experience dealing with data from multiple operators and LTAs enabled them to handle both standardised and more unreliable TXC data to deliver the county-wide journey planning and real-time information website. Designed around multi-operator deployments, Passenger’s Services model was used to manage network information and meet the challenge of representing larger bus networks.
Passenger customers can also link their TransXChange data directly from Passenger’s open data hub directly to the Bus Open Data System (BODS), and as a BODS agent and data supplier, Passenger host and upload data, and can manage BODS accounts on behalf of operators and local authorities.
The Intalink website now provides a focal point for passenger transport information in the county, helping to show buses as an attractive and practical alternative to private cars. HCC has seen great results having a fully responsive website with ticket information, timetables, maps, live departures, disruptions, journey planner and service updates across the 25 operators.
Users are kept informed about available services, which increases customer satisfaction and helps to improve reliability and coordination with other modes. Passenger’s new flexible journey cancelling capabilities also contribute to an improved level of accuracy for user information.