Running for the past 50 years, A C Williams Coaches have been using BODS and Ticketer Handheld ETMs since January 2021. With 7 coaches, 7 buses and around 18 drivers and office staff, A C Williams Coaches are a small independent, yet innovative, operator based in Lincolnshire, running school coach contracts, private hire and a registered service.
Driven by the need to supply fares, location and timetable data to The Department for Transport (DfT) for the new BODS requirements, they wanted to take advantage of new technology and innovations to be able to make details of bus services available as open data. With the registered service contracted by Lincolnshire Country Council, as the back-office support for the input of data, A C Williams Coaches were looking for a trusted supplier to provide the data alongside an Electronic Ticket Machine with the capability to be used on any of their vehicles.
“One of the key benefits is punctuality. With timetable data, but also information on the fares and passes. It’s there right from word go. I can do a report on the period of time, fares taken, passes taken - so I know immediately what the ridership's like.”
Andrew Scotton, Operations Manager
The Ticketer team worked with A C Williams Coaches to understand the new BODS requirements and how they could fulfil their obligations. With the need to have an Electronic Ticket Machine which could be used on any of their buses or coaches, the Ticketer Handheld was recommended to enable them to collect the necessary data while having something portable that can be swapped between vehicles.
Navigating and resolving initial teething problems together when the BODS regulations were introduced by the DfT, the Ticketer Customer Support Team worked through each of the modules with A C Williams Coaches, to uncover solutions to make the transition to BODS as easy as possible. From the smooth implementation of the fares and timetable information, the bus stop data format supplied from the Local Authority affected the bus tracking and this was solved quickly and easily to meet the deadlines.
“Ticketer are at the forefront of most of the technology out there. You hear other operators talking about services and it's Ticketer they are using. It's a popular demand, a popular Electronic Ticket Machine.”
Andrew Scotton, Operations Manager
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR A C WILLIAMS COACHES
TICKET MACHINES UNLOCK BODS
As A C Williams Coaches owned Ticketer’s Electronic Ticket Machines, the system already had what it takes for them to adhere to the Bus Open Data Service requirements. There’s was no need for a separate team or consultant to understand the complexity and navigate the rules – we did the groundwork, so they didn’t have to.
FARES AT NETEX STANDARD
With tickets and fares managed within the Ticketer System, it contained the information required to meet open data requirements – right from the word ‘go’. Furthermore, this system can export necessary data in the NetEX standard specified by the DfT, and host the required files. It additionally automatically syncs fare updates with the Ticketer System, guaranteeing that open data needs are fulfilled.
TRACKING IN REAL TIME
With GPS-enabled Ticketer Electronic Ticket Machines (ETMs), all A C Williams Coaches vehicles can be tracked in real-time. By utilising the SIRI Vehicle Monitoring (VM) protocol mandated by BODS, the data feed was easily set up to allow this location data to be accessed via local authorities, websites and/or mobile apps.
SIMPLE PUNCTUALITY REPORTING
In the past it was a case of using vehicle tracking and A C Williams Coaches physically going out on the road and checking whether buses are on time. Now there’s no need to check punctuality manually – it’s all automatic, simple and cloud-based.
As well as access to the necessary data, Ticketer goes above and beyond to host information for A C Williams Coaches and all our operators, making providing data to BODS effortless.
KEEPING UP TO DATE
With an initial set of requirements from the Department for Transport, Ticketer worked with A C Williams Coaches to make sure the input from the local authority contract and BODS outputs were suitable to make the grade. This work continues as the system will always be updated to accommodate changing Department for Transport needs. Data is automatically synchronised to any ticketing changes made in your daily operations – no further effort or input needed.
HIGH QUALITY BODS OUTPUT
A C Williams Coaches Routes and Timetables Data is loaded to BODS on their behalf by Lincolnshire County Council. The Lincolnshire TransXChange files are examples of good data so Ticketer use them to load the services in to the Local Operators Ticketer Portals with discussion and partnership between Ticketer, A.C Williams Coaches and Lincolnshire to get them correct. This gives the best chance of matching the Location Data which Ticketer send in the SIRI AVL feed to BODS with the TransXChange files – giving BODS users high quality output.
FLEXIBILITY FOR SMALLER OPERATORS
Using the Handheld Electronic Ticket Machine to supply the location data to BODS means that small operators such as A C Williams Coaches have flexibility on which vehicles they use on the services that report to BODS. There’s no need for another system to be separately programmed for other BODS aspects. With Fares already loaded, it’s easy to link from the Ticketer Portal and upload the Fares to BODS because we convert them to the required NeTEx format.
Having the Ticketer Handheld Electronic Ticket Machine has greatly reduced the cost of complying with BODS for smaller Operators. With A C Williams Coaches, using two of the three BODS facilities is costing the Operator very little extra. Operators who already have one or more SIRI AVL feed get access to a SIRI AVL to BODS. The export of Fares, although a small extra cost, is well worth the time and cost saving over other complicated methods of loading Fares to BODS. It also easily dealt with the change to the dates of operation for the £2 fare cap and will make the rise to £2.50 in November seamless.
AVAILABLE TO ALL
If you’re not yet a customer of ours, there’s a “Schedule Adherence Lite” option which allows you to add your timetables and adhere to BODS regulations. So it’s easy to comply whether you have our Electronic Ticket Machines or not.