Bus Open Data Service: BODS and Beyond

5 March 2021

The Bus Open Data Service (BODS) is transforming public transport, making bus travel more accessible and easier for passengers. And Bus Operators, through using Ticketer’s ability to export and host data on their behalf, have been able to deliver the required data on time. You may be one of the operators who we’ve already helped with location and timetable data. But you may not be aware that at the end of last year, we also completed development to export fares data into the DfT’s NeTEx standard so we are ready to go for fares submissions too.

But first, as a recap, we felt it may be useful to review how Ticketer can, and is, supporting our operators today.

As many of you know, if you already have Ticketer electronic ticket machines, then we’re already likely to be hosting the data required to meet your BODS obligations. There’s no need for you to set up a team to focus on collating data or recruit an external consultant to advise. We’ve put in all the hard work, and will continue to do so, so you don’t have to.

Jane Cole, Managing Director of Blackpool Transport commented: 

“We have been working to meet the Bus Open Data Service requirements in good time and Ticketer has enabled us to do just that. Having a partner who can take care of the technical logistics which allows us to share our data has been invaluable.”

We support it, we deliver it, and we update it. It’s simple!

Location Data

Ticketer is already providing live location data to BODS for over 180 operators. If you are not one of them, then this is simple to setup. For assistance in setting up BODS AVL, just contact our Support team.
For most operators, this will be covered under the existing commercial terms, but if this isn’t, there is a small minor increase to your licence to cover this.

Timetable Data

If you are a user of Ticketer’s Schedule Adherence feature which provides reports on how your services are running against the timetables, then we already have the required information and hosting your timetables for BODS is included in that package. If you are not utilising this feature, then we have introduced a new low-cost option for managing and hosting your timetables just for BODS. Please ask our support team for more details on our SA Lite package.
Once your timetables are uploaded to the Ticketer System then hosting these for BODS is as simple as pasting in a URL. That’s it. Your timetables in BODS will be updated every time you publish your timetables to the ETMs. Ticketer already export timetables which conform to the 1.1 PTI profile as specified by the DfT and we are already hosting timetables for over 170 operators.

Fares Data

Your ETM naturally has the fares data you need to meet your BODS requirements and we completed the development to export fares data into the DfT’s NeTEx standard at the end of last year, so everything is ready to go.

Contact the Support team for more details on enabling this option.

As requirements change, it’s our job to deliver, but you may be wondering what is next. Well, rest assured that for us, our work to support BODS has not stopped and we are continuing to work closely with the DfT and the BODS deployment team to ensure that we can support you with your data.

what are we doing nEXT?

Last year, the focus was on assisting operators in signing up to BODS and sharing their data. This year, the focus will be on data quality and ensuring that the data hosted by Ticketer on behalf of our operators is fully compliant with the specifications as defined.

We will be issuing help sheets to help operators make changes which enable them to be compliant and our helpful support team are always on hand to assist with any queries any operators may have.

In addition, we are continuing to work with the DfT and the BODS team to support any amendments to the schemas. One such area is to address an omission with the current Fares schema to support the alighting bus stop to fare stage mapping which could lead consumers of the data to misrepresent fares. Due to our pioneering work on Tap On / Tap Off, Ticketer already have a ready-made solution to this problem and once the BODS team have specified how this would be defined within the NetEX schema then we will be able to advise operators on the setup requirements while we extend our NetEx export to accommodate this additional data element.

Graham Smith, Commercial Manager of Lynx in King’s Lynn was happy to share his thoughts on how smooth BODS delivery has been:

The Bus Open Data Service (BODS) includes three crucial elements; route and timetable data, AVL (Automatic Vehicle Location) data and fares data and we’re delighted to have been working with Ticketer and the DfT as an early adopter of this programme. The prospect for smaller bus operators, such as ourselves, may at first appear daunting but there is no need for concern at all as Ticketer have taken a lot of potentially time consuming and onerous work out for operators. We simply have to provide a URL link for all three elements which can easily be uploaded to the DfT BODS portal. It’s been an absolute pleasure in working with the extremely competent and proactive Ticketer team.

Some of the things we have won

Ranked in The Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100, acknowledging the impressive performance and contributions of the featured companies to the economy and society during the pandemic

Ticketer Award Megabuyte

Listed as 3rd in the Megabuyte Emerging Stars Awards which recognise the top 25 best-performing scale-up Companies of the Year in the UK, for industry-specific software

Ones to Watch award

Named as “One to Watch” in the European Business Awards

Ticketer Award Thames Valley

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year & High Growth Business of the Year

Gold Winner of the Coach and Bus Innovation Challenge 2019 for our passenger app Kazoot

Read more on our press page

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