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Bus passengers across England to get better info on routes, timetables and fares

All bus passengers in England should soon be able to get accurate information about prices, routes and timetables, after the Government announced plans for a new project to make bus firms share data.

Buses Minister Baroness Vere has launched the scheme, which will require bus operators to standardise and publish their data – as train firms are already required to do – meaning the info will be usable by developers of apps like Google Maps and Citymapper.

The Government says under the new regulations, bus operators will be required to publish:

  • Route and timetable data by the end of 2020.
  • Fare, ticket and live location data by 2021.

It also says it expects that, by January 2021, a range of smartphone apps will allow passengers to see exactly where buses are on their routes in real-time, and get journey time estimates.

This is something users of rail apps like Trainline and National Rail can already see for trains. But while bus passengers in London can already see this kind of info using apps such as Citymapper, it isn't commonplace across the entire country.

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."

David Sidebottom, director of watchdog Transport Focus, said the announcement was "good news", but added:  "Ensuring that information is accurate and timely will be crucial to the success of the open data service."

For how to cut the cost of motoring and travelling around the UK, see Cheap Transport & Travel.

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