Bus passengers across England will soon be able to plan their journeys down to the minute thanks to a pioneering project to collate and share bus location data.

Buses Minister Baroness Vere has announced a ground-breaking project to standardise and publish information from operators, which will enable bus users to plan routes, estimate journey times and understand costs in advance.

The Bus Open Data Service will be underpinned by new regulations which will mean bus operators are legally required to provide route and timetable data by the end of 2020 and fare, ticket and location data by 2021.

Baroness Vere said: “By harnessing the transforming power of data and technology we could be on the threshold of a golden age for buses. Sharing data on routes, bus locations and fares will give passengers even more confidence to ride.”

The new regulations will, she went on, make it easier for people to use the bus to visit friends, commute to work or get out and about in their local community by providing live information on location and helping to keep fares down by providing greater transparency across different operators.

The Government will work with technology companies, app developers and information providers to ensure a range of innovative products are designed to make the most of the data and help all bus users make informed choices.

Full data on fares and locations will be available from January 2021, by which point it is expected that a range of apps will be on the market allowing passengers to manage their journeys from start to finish from their smartphones.

David Beardmore, commercial director, Open Data Institute, said: “This marks the start of a digital transformation for the delivery of bus services across England and will benefit both the tech industry who will use the data to innovate and develop new products and services, but fundamentally consumers are the ultimate winners; armed with better information they can plan their journeys more easily and make better choices about tickets.”

Last reviewed 4 February 2020