Collection

Bus Open Data Service

The Bus Open Data Service provides bus timetable data for every local bus service in England.

The Department for Transport wants to make it easier to travel by bus wherever you are in England.

We are making accurate timetable data available so that passengers can:

  • plan their journeys with confidence
  • spend less time waiting
  • find the best value tickets

Department for Transport actions

To achieve better bus travel we are doing the following:

  • requiring bus operators to provide open, accurate and up-to-date data (timetable, fares and live location data)
  • ensuring all local bus services across England are in scope (and cross border services too for the English leg of the journey)
  • creating Public Service Vehicle Open Data regulations enabled by the Bus Services Act (2017)
  • creating new digital services including Publish Bus Data and Find Bus Data.
  • creating new data standards to address gaps (fares) and mandating existing standards (timetables, location)
  • building new free-to-access data tools to address gaps in market provision (timetables tool and fares tool)

Timetable for bus operators

Following the introduction of the Bus Open Data Service in January 2020, there are 3 important dates for bus operators.

Date Event
31 December 2020 Obligation to provide bus timetable data to the Bus Open Data Service.
7 January 2021 Obligation to provide vehicle location and basic fares and tickets data to the Bus Open Data Service.
7 January 2023 Obligation to provide complex fares and ticket data to the Bus Open Data Service.

Basic fares and tickets refers to the most common ticket types, such as single, return, and weekly passes.

Complex fares and tickets refers to more complicated ticket structures such as multi-operator passes. A full list of what is included in the definitions can be found on the NeTEx website (PDF 6MB).

Data standards

Routes and timetables data will be in the standard TransXChange format. There is currently no standard way to store fares and tickets data, so the Department for Transport is creating a new standard, called NeTEx.

This will enable operators to publish data in a standardised way and so make it easy for developers to use data to build apps.

There will also be new tools and free training to make publishing data using NeTEx and TransXChange easier.

Why are we doing this?

Buses have significant social, economic, and environmental benefits. But bus usage has been falling for several years, especially outside London. According to the Bus Passenger Survey (carried out by Transport Focus) one important reason for this is the lack of journey planning information.

The Department for Transport wants to see more people taking the bus, and wants those who do take it to have the best possible experience. We believe that knowing when the bus will arrive will reduce passenger frustration, and save passengers time.

Traveline currently provides an excellent service around some elements of bus data, but the Bus Open Data Service will soon add extra dimensions - fares, tickets, and vehicle location.

Events

We will be running a number of different events across England, with a focus on business change. We will be add details of events here, so keep checking this page to see when events are planned for your region.

Keep in touch

Follow us on Twitter @busopendata

We’re always pleased to hear stories from operators and local authorities across the country about how you’re offering high quality digital passenger information. Share your stories using the #busopendatastories.

Sign up for our mailing list by emailing us at busopendata@dft.gov.uk.

Bus Open Data services

Submit and use bus data.

  1. Find and use bus open data
  2. Publish bus open data

Guidance

  1. Bus Open Data implementation guide

Consultations

  1. Bus Services Act 2017: bus open data

News

Published 28 January 2020