Bus passengers across the UK could see up-to-the-minute information that requires operators to keep passengers informed about services in real-time, under plans announced last week.
Buses Minister Nusrat Ghani launched a consultation while visiting operator Reading Buses, on legally requiring operators to share their data so that passengers can get real time information on bus routes, timetables and fares at their fingertips.
The consultation will also look at making companies provide audio and visual information on buses, ensuring disabled people and the elderly are able to travel confidently.
Nusrat Ghani MP said:“Nobody enjoys waiting at a bus stop for 20 minutes not knowing when the next bus is going to turn up, only for two to then pull up at the same time.
“By requiring bus operators to share data, we can make sure that passengers have the information they need to catch the bus with ease, equipped with the right information about the time and cost.
“This move will also open up opportunities for innovation within the industry, support local services where demand is falling and help increase bus usage across the country.”
Reading Buses is already using open data to improve bus journeys for people in the area. Through a number of initiatives to make information more easily available, the company has seen a 48% per cent increase in passenger numbers since 2009.
John Bickerton, Reading Buses’ Head of Engineering and Innovation said:“We are delighted that the Department for Transport is highlighting the importance of open data for the bus industry. We have long been advocates of giving customers more information to help them on their journey – and importantly to help them decide to travel with us in the first place.
“We have a commitment to on-board audio and visual next stop announcements and have put information literally in our customers’ hands with the Reading Buses app, which not only shows when buses are due, but can also show the buses moving in real time on a map of the route.”