A new data platform will help utilise location information regarding buses
Improving data for bus services across England is one of the first steps in removing the barriers to introducing Mobility-as-a-Service.
Buses Minister, Nusrat Ghani, has announced £4 million for a platform which will provide location information about services; giving greater certainty to passengers regarding when their bus will arrive.
This new digital system could help rural bus services be overhauled.
The platform enables app developers to use information from GPS trackers, which are already fitted to 97 per cent of buses, providing people across the country the ability to plan journeys more easily.
One of the barriers to young people using buses is the lack of readily-available information on their phones, but with fares and times at their fingertips, this will cut the uncertainty out of bus travel.
The drive towards improved and open data for bus services across England will help remove the barriers to introducing Mobility-as-a-Service, one-stop-ticketing products and applications, in a bid to increase usage.
Nusrat Ghani said: “People expect to turn up to a bus stop knowing when their next service will arrive, particularly in rural areas. We’re investing in systems to make it easier for people to find out where their bus is, how much it will cost and how long it will take. This will save the time people waste waiting, give more people certainty over services and help increase passenger numbers.”
On-demand bus travel is already available in Liverpool, run by ArrivaClick. Routes are not fixed, but determined by where passengers want to go within a corridor. These services are driven by high-quality data and computer-based algorithms.
The government is also investing in ways to speed up bus journeys. As part of the first tranche of the £2.5 billion Transforming Cities Fund, Derby and Nottingham, the North East, Portsmouth and Southampton will see the deployment of bus priority traffic lights to speed up trips to the city centres.
The bus open data regulations are being implemented as part of the Bus Services Act, which gives local authorities additional powers to partner with bus operators and shape services in their areas to deliver improvements to passengers.