Buses Minister, Nusrat Ghani, is visiting Reading Buses on 5 July 2018 to launch a consultation on legally requiring bus operators to share their data so that passengers can get real-time information on bus routes, timetables and fares at their fingertips.
It will also look at making companies provide audio and visual information on buses, ensuring passengers with reduced mobility and the elderly are able to travel confidently.
Together, the two initiatives will ensure that passengers have the information they need, when they need it, regardless of their location and the company running the service.
“By requiring bus operators to share their 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,” commented Ghani. “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.”
Requiring bus companies to share their data would pave the way for improved information across all modes of transport, meaning quicker, easier journeys for passengers travelling on more than one form of transport.
Reading Buses is already using open data to improve bus journeys for people in the area. During her visit, the minister will travel on a bus which includes accessibility features such as next stop screens, voice announcements and two wheelchair spaces.
John Bickerton, Reading Buses’ Head of Engineering and Innovation, said: “We have long had 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.”
Transport data is already widely shared within the rail industry and across modes in the biggest cities, with apps such as Trainline and City Mapper helping passengers make informed choices about their method of travel.
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