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Transport for the North unveils bus data development service


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Transport for the North (TfN) has developed a service to enable bus operators to publish fares in a standardised data format.

Named the Create Fares Data Service, it will initially be available for bus services in the TfN region but is to be handed to the DfT to develop as a national service.

It is intended to enable the operators to publish fares online and in journey planning apps, to help app developers use the data in other services.

The tool has been developed in partnership with the Department for Transport (DfT) and Traveline – a partnership of transport companies, local authorities and passenger groups – as part of TfN’s Integrated and Smart Travel programme.

Digital transformation consultancy Infinity Works has also been involved in the development, with bus operators contributing to the design and testing.

The new service uses the NeTEx format – an XML schema for public transport data – which has not been widely used in the UK. TfN said this would give developers further scope to innovate and ultimately provide passengers with better access to information.

Unlocking information

Its integrated and smart travel director, Jeremy Acklam, said: “In an era where we can use our smartphones to order a taxi, the weekly shop or a takeaway and track it right to our doors, we really should be easily able to find out how much a bus journey will cost before we jump onboard.

“Harnessing the power of open data, the Create Fares Data Service will help unlock this information and make it more readily available online and in travel apps so passengers can better plan their journeys and choose bus as a convenient and sustainable way to travel.”

TfN plans to hand ownership of the Create Data Fares service to the DfT to provide it as a national solution before the end of the year. It has already been made available through GOV.UK.

A DfT spokesperson said: “The Create Fares Data Service will significantly further the ability of Bus Open Data Service to deliver national datasets for timetables, fares and location information; and ultimately digitally transform the delivery of bus services and enhance the passenger experience.”

The Bus Open Data Service was launched early this year, aimed at enabling developers to use information from bus operators in travel apps and develop new products.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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