Demise of Traveline website

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route101

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Been let down with Google maps bus stop times before. Prefer own company app with tracker.
 
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peterblue

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I use bustimes for timetable enquiries; and I plan journeys myself manually. I find that yields the best results and that way I can plan a journey that suits my schedules.

And you're hardly going to go "I know, I'll buy a car" when you're searching a route to use on the bus later on today! :D

Maybe you might depending on the frequency of some routes :D
 

scotrail158713

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I use bustimes for timetable enquiries; and I plan journeys myself manually. I find that yields the best results and that way I can plan a journey that suits my schedules.
Have to agree - I’m the same. There’s something about planning a journey myself as well that I enjoy. Plugging it into a journey planner takes that away.
The one aspect I used Traveline for, and I only discovered it a couple of months ago after a message on this forum, is that it gives fare information for First Bus - something missing from First’s website.
 

route101

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Have to agree - I’m the same. There’s something about planning a journey myself as well that I enjoy. Plugging it into a journey planner takes that away.
The one aspect I used Traveline for, and I only discovered it a couple of months ago after a message on this forum, is that it gives fare information for First Bus - something missing from First’s website.

Yes, i like looking at timetables and route maps. I guess most people want to know just one thing how to get from A to B!

I know a person who goes by google maps directions by the T. Walk 5 minutes to stop A , get 76 bus 5 stops etc.
 

radamfi

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If the argument is that it is not the job of the state to make bus timetables available, well OK, that is an argument. It's not an argument that I really agree with, but the state does not have infinite funds. (OK, it sort of does, but let's not go there right now.)

It is nothing to do with the state of public finances or the affordability. It is the principle that buses in a deregulated environment should be able to stand on their own two feet. If we were talking about TfL or somewhere where buses are providing a public service, then of course the state should publicise the service.
 

markymark2000

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If the argument is that it is not the job of the state to make bus timetables available, well OK, that is an argument. It's not an argument that I really agree with, but the state does not have infinite funds. (OK, it sort of does, but let's not go there right now.)

Is it in fact the job of operators to make timetables available? Yes it is, but not all of them do it. It has been widely noted that Arriva's new website is horrible to use and also desperately inaccurate, and there are still some smaller operators who just don't have one. Do we seriously expect Bloggs of Bloxwich to be told that he will have his O-licence revoked if he doesn't create a website showing the timetable for his one bus service? If he is told that he's likely to walk away, but if he isn't then the timetable for his service will become impossible to discover.

The Bustimes website has been mentioned, and at present it does seem to be more up to date than Traveline is. But who runs it has always been a bit of a mystery, and doesn't some of its information come from Traveline data which will no longer be forthcoming?

The Fat Bus Bloke hasn't covered this particular matter yet. We all have a fairly good idea of what he's going to say when he does, and I won't be the only person who sometimes wishes he'd change the record. The only problem is, he might be right ...
I don't know where you get that idea from since 85% of the times are from the Traveline database. Where timetables are more upto date is when they use OpenData as that is updated by the bus operators more often and is direct data from operator - website therefore missing out the middlemen (normally the council staff who input the data and misses out the whole Traveline database)


It is nothing to do with the state of public finances or the affordability. It is the principle that buses in a deregulated environment should be able to stand on their own two feet. If we were talking about TfL or somewhere where buses are providing a public service, then of course the state should publicise the service.
I have no words for you other than your logic is bonkers. the Traveline site should be pretty cheap to run. It's the least the government can pay to help promote public transport use.
 

alex397

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Sad to hear this, but not completely surprised.

I used to use Traveline South East regularly, but it has become outdated. It doesn't work particularly well on modern devices, such as iPads or smartphones.

I now use bustimes.org much more than Traveline. Bustimes is much more simple to use, and has the big bonus of the tracking map, which is probably the best live tracking map I've seen. Quite a few operators can be seen on the map, but smaller ones are less common.
Bustimes of course doesn't have a journey planner, which is a downside compared to Traveline. Personally I rarely use a journey planner anyway and like to plan journeys myself.

Google Maps has become more user friendly for public transport information, and is continually improving. For example, when you click on a particular journey, it now shows it's exact route from start to finish on the map, following the roads and not just a straight line from stop to stop - that is quite pleasing to see!
 

radamfi

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I have no words for you other than your logic is bonkers. the Traveline site should be pretty cheap to run. It's the least the government can pay to help promote public transport use.

It is not *public* transport! It is a business! I thought the whole point of deregulation is that they don't get subsidy?
 

Robertj21a

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I don't know where you get that idea from since 85% of the times are from the Traveline database. Where timetables are more upto date is when they use OpenData as that is updated by the bus operators more often and is direct data from operator - website therefore missing out the middlemen (normally the council staff who input the data and misses out the whole Traveline database)



I have no words for you other than your logic is bonkers. the Traveline site should be pretty cheap to run. It's the least the government can pay to help promote public transport use.

Don't the bus operators fund Traveline ?
 

Baxenden Bank

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I am not a big fan of journey planners. Give me a route map and a set of timetables. I do not want to be told (as one previous post says) walk for 2 minutes, when in reality I am moving between stops in an interchange. Nor do I like being given false departure times, which build in that two minutes.

However, Traveline is/was useful in finding full timetables for an area or operator, rather than some algorithm deciding on my behalf.

I have previously looked at bustimes.org and found it wanting.

In the interests of fair play I have just had a look at 'West Midlands' and 'Bus Operators in the West Midlands'. I think there are a few more than those listed, including one called D & G in my local area.

For any source of info, it has to be both complete and accurate. That means timetables kept up to date, with a date of when they were / will be introduced. Giving out incorrect information is worse than giving out none.

As regards Google, I suppose it depends on where you are looking in the world. For Kampala (Uganda), Nairobi (Kenya) and Lagos (Nigeria) it gives complete twaddle. For Nairobi it offers route numbers (they don't have them, or indeed fixed routes) and departures 'every 5 minutes' (they operate on demand, when full enough).

PS it would appear that D & G are a bus operator in the North West!
 
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Bletchleyite

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Is it in fact the job of operators to make timetables available? Yes it is, but not all of them do it. It has been widely noted that Arriva's new website is horrible to use and also desperately inaccurate, and there are still some smaller operators who just don't have one. Do we seriously expect Bloggs of Bloxwich to be told that he will have his O-licence revoked if he doesn't create a website showing the timetable for his one bus service? If he is told that he's likely to walk away, but if he isn't then the timetable for his service will become impossible to discover.

To be fair, most such companies usually do have a fairly rubbish website with said timetable on it. They tend to be coach companies that happen to run one or two (often tendered) bus routes, and so it's just a page on their "come and hire our coaches" website.
 

carlberry

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It is nothing to do with the state of public finances or the affordability. It is the principle that buses in a deregulated environment should be able to stand on their own two feet. If we were talking about TfL or somewhere where buses are providing a public service, then of course the state should publicise the service.
Buses are providing a public service EVERYWHERE. The difference in London is more money is put into it and it's all controlled by a public administration. In the rest of the country only a proportion is controlled by a public administration and it's usually those services that are the most difficult to find information about. Spending a small amount of public money on trying to make it easier to use environmentally friendly ways to travel would appear to be a good idea.
 

GusB

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Neither Google, nor self-driving cars are the subject of this thread. Please stay on topic.
 

Roger1973

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Having had some involvement in the early days of Traveline...

The basis for setting it up was that (at that time) it could be difficult to get information from some operators, and more difficult still to get information if your journey involved multiple operators, or a choice of operators for some or all of the journey. And train information was completely separate. And you usually had to have some idea what bus operator ran what service in order to start making an enquiry. Traveline was intended so you could start with just a town centre, or address, or postcode. And to do the whole thing to bus stop level, not just 'timing point' (i.e. main stops) level, which most published timetables didn't do.

Most shire counties had some form of travel info service (which usually had more dependence on the local knowledge of the people staffing it than it did on technology) but with the fragmentation of many shire counties in to small unitary councils in the 1990s, it got more difficult. Car drivers generally do not think about whether they are going to cross an administrative boundary when making a journey, many local authorities seem to think bus passengers should, even if they are a doughnut or horseshoe shaped authority round a larger town or city.

Yes, the Traveline system always was that bus operators paid a contribution to Traveline based on the proportion of enquiries made for their services. When it all started, the call centre was more of a thing than the internet.

The system was based on service registrations being required to be copied to local authorities who in turn fed them in to Traveline (at the outset, electronic registration didn't exist, so this involved transcribing and working out the exact stopping pattern from a 'timing point level' timetable.)

Therefore all registered services would be offered by journey planners, arguably making it easier for new and competing operators' services to be offered on equal terms to members of the public who might have only thought of the principal / established local operator.

There were downsides in that the system would occasionally offer impractical journeys with multiple changes, or get confused in urban areas by there being too many options as well as the logical ones to use. Also that data quality varied (some councils regarded it all as a bit of a pain, and the data collation was either outsourced or given to very junior staff with minimal checking, so both accuracy, and naming of 'localities' i.e. town / village / suburb names could be questionable.) And the remote regional call centres were never going to have the local knowledge that the better county council or bus operator enquiry line staff had.

Google Maps, and (now defunct) Transport Direct got data fed from Traveline, rather than collating data separately.

I'm some distance from the game now, but there is an ongoing project for all bus registrations to be fed in to the Bus Open Data Service (albeit the deadline is this December so it may be a bit premature to close Traveline down now) and it's a bit unclear how Joe Public will get information out of it. When I was last involved at the local authority end of things, there was a realisation that forcing electronic service registration was going to be one more factor in pushing small operators out of the local bus market quicker.

Yes, time and technology has moved on in the last 20+ years (a basic info by text message facility was new and exciting then, smart phones and apps didn't generally exist) and it's certainly not realistic to expect Traveline still to be trying to solve the issues of the late 90s with the technology of that era.

Whether it's realistic just to rely on big bus operators pushing their own services and hope that 'someone out there' will try and knit the rest of it together, I am not sure I want to say... I would certainly agree that the big tech companies are in it for the best interests of the big tech companies.
 

NorthOxonian

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Have to agree - I’m the same. There’s something about planning a journey myself as well that I enjoy. Plugging it into a journey planner takes that away.
The one aspect I used Traveline for, and I only discovered it a couple of months ago after a message on this forum, is that it gives fare information for First Bus - something missing from First’s website.

I tend to do this initially (especially because I rarely have a set destination - I prefer using the timetables and maps to work out how far I can get in a day). But I'll usually put my journey in a planner as a check. I also find planners can often suggest routes which you might have missed - on a recent journey from Morecambe to Newcastle, it turned out I could save an hour (and use two infrequent services) by taking the 755 and 506 rather than doubling back through Lancaster.

Re the First bus fares information, my hope is that the advent of open fare data we'll be able to see that information on more websites.
 

markymark2000

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It is not *public* transport! It is a business! I thought the whole point of deregulation is that they don't get subsidy?
I'm struggling to see if you are a real or troll account based on your previous posts on this thread. The government promotes and subsidises many private businesses.

What do you think scrapping Traveline will achieve? It won't save much. Scrapping the regional sites will save money while the national site continues so any money put in by whoever funds Traveline will go further. Cutting regional sites I think will each save £200 per year. Domains are less than £15 so add on hosting and you should meet around the £200 figure. There are 4 regional sites so you could save £800 per year. That is a big saving for them. Bearing in mind as well that more local authorities are making their own versions of journey planners (Suffolk Onboard, Robin Hood Network etc), it seems daft to duplicate so much information.

As it stands, Traveline England receives NO PUBLIC FUNDING. 'We’re a partnership of transport companies, local authorities and passenger groups' (https://www.traveline.info/about-traveline/)

I am not a big fan of journey planners. Give me a route map and a set of timetables. I do not want to be told (as one previous post says) walk for 2 minutes, when in reality I am moving between stops in an interchange. Nor do I like being given false departure times, which build in that two minutes.

However, Traveline is/was useful in finding full timetables for an area or operator, rather than some algorithm deciding on my behalf.

I have previously looked at bustimes.org and found it wanting.

In the interests of fair play I have just had a look at 'West Midlands' and 'Bus Operators in the West Midlands'. I think there are a few more than those listed, including one called D & G in my local area.

For any source of info, it has to be both complete and accurate. That means timetables kept up to date, with a date of when they were / will be introduced. Giving out incorrect information is worse than giving out none.

As regards Google, I suppose it depends on where you are looking in the world. For Kampala (Uganda), Nairobi (Kenya) and Lagos (Nigeria) it gives complete twaddle. For Nairobi it offers route numbers (they don't have them, or indeed fixed routes) and departures 'every 5 minutes' (they operate on demand, when full enough).

PS it would appear that D & G are a bus operator in the North West!
On Bustimes, the issue is an operator shows up where their licence is registered at so D&Gs licence is based in Stoke despite the ops centres being Crewe and Wincham (Stoke is on a separate licence). Stagecoach Hull is under the East Midlands Licence meaning it doesn't show up in Yorkshire. there are some issues there and I would hope that they got sorted but on the whole, BusTimes.org is very good.


Having had some involvement in the early days of Traveline...

The basis for setting it up was that (at that time) it could be difficult to get information from some operators, and more difficult still to get information if your journey involved multiple operators, or a choice of operators for some or all of the journey. And train information was completely separate. And you usually had to have some idea what bus operator ran what service in order to start making an enquiry. Traveline was intended so you could start with just a town centre, or address, or postcode. And to do the whole thing to bus stop level, not just 'timing point' (i.e. main stops) level, which most published timetables didn't do.

Most shire counties had some form of travel info service (which usually had more dependence on the local knowledge of the people staffing it than it did on technology) but with the fragmentation of many shire counties in to small unitary councils in the 1990s, it got more difficult. Car drivers generally do not think about whether they are going to cross an administrative boundary when making a journey, many local authorities seem to think bus passengers should, even if they are a doughnut or horseshoe shaped authority round a larger town or city.

Yes, the Traveline system always was that bus operators paid a contribution to Traveline based on the proportion of enquiries made for their services. When it all started, the call centre was more of a thing than the internet.

The system was based on service registrations being required to be copied to local authorities who in turn fed them in to Traveline (at the outset, electronic registration didn't exist, so this involved transcribing and working out the exact stopping pattern from a 'timing point level' timetable.)

Therefore all registered services would be offered by journey planners, arguably making it easier for new and competing operators' services to be offered on equal terms to members of the public who might have only thought of the principal / established local operator.

There were downsides in that the system would occasionally offer impractical journeys with multiple changes, or get confused in urban areas by there being too many options as well as the logical ones to use. Also that data quality varied (some councils regarded it all as a bit of a pain, and the data collation was either outsourced or given to very junior staff with minimal checking, so both accuracy, and naming of 'localities' i.e. town / village / suburb names could be questionable.) And the remote regional call centres were never going to have the local knowledge that the better county council or bus operator enquiry line staff had.

Google Maps, and (now defunct) Transport Direct got data fed from Traveline, rather than collating data separately.

I'm some distance from the game now, but there is an ongoing project for all bus registrations to be fed in to the Bus Open Data Service (albeit the deadline is this December so it may be a bit premature to close Traveline down now) and it's a bit unclear how Joe Public will get information out of it. When I was last involved at the local authority end of things, there was a realisation that forcing electronic service registration was going to be one more factor in pushing small operators out of the local bus market quicker.

Yes, time and technology has moved on in the last 20+ years (a basic info by text message facility was new and exciting then, smart phones and apps didn't generally exist) and it's certainly not realistic to expect Traveline still to be trying to solve the issues of the late 90s with the technology of that era.

Whether it's realistic just to rely on big bus operators pushing their own services and hope that 'someone out there' will try and knit the rest of it together, I am not sure I want to say... I would certainly agree that the big tech companies are in it for the best interests of the big tech companies.
Very in depth explanation of Traveline there. Much appreciated.
It's clear to see how over the past few years, the need for Traveline and it's services have been less relevant and I hope that with OpenData, Traveline embraces that as open data is a lot more upto date and cuts out the council as the middleman. It should also enable Traveline to become more useful as when fares get added in the next few year, it could show you the cost for the journey and you could go very detailed and start recommending journeys based on cost. This would then be something where Traveline could lead the way. That depends on who they have in their team though and if they have the skills to do such a thing.
Some of Travelines stuff is now outdated and I would hope that they are now trying to get rid of 'dead weight' in favour of making a much better experience on their main site.
 

radamfi

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Buses are providing a public service EVERYWHERE.

So why are buses outside London not considered to be essential services? Buses can be withdrawn at short notice with no obligation for the local authority to replace then, because they are not considered "essential". The usage outside London is so low that buses are now almost irrelevant. In London, totally different story.
 

Robertj21a

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So why are buses outside London not considered to be essential services? Buses can be withdrawn at short notice with no obligation for the local authority to replace then, because they are not considered "essential". The usage outside London is so low that buses are now almost irrelevant. In London, totally different story.

Isn't it 70 days notice to withdraw a service ?
 

radamfi

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Isn't it 70 days notice to withdraw a service ?

says 42 days. So anyone can be 42 days away from having no bus service as there is no obligation for the local authority to replace withdrawn services.
 

MedwayValiant

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To be fair, most such companies usually do have a fairly rubbish website with said timetable on it. They tend to be coach companies that happen to run one or two (often tendered) bus routes, and so it's just a page on their "come and hire our coaches" website.

I think that's right, but it's not all. One that I know of is Mulleys Motorways (Bury St Edmunds), whose website is devoted entirely to "come and hire our coaches" and makes no mention whatsoever of "we also run bus services". The firm doesn't do Twitter either.

If those bus services were occasional services that only the half dozen regular users will ever need to know about - as with the supposed Bloggs of Bloxwich - that might be one thing. But in fact, they include the main service between Bury and Mildenhall, the "back road" route between Bury and Newmarket, the Mildenhall town service, and half a dozen Bury town services. It seems a bit odd that an operator of that size considers there to be no need to publicise its operations, and with no Traveline its timetables could become rather difficult to discover.
 

adrock1976

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What's it called? It's called Cumbernauld
It's basically all in Google Maps - maintaining it is a waste of money.

Although it may be, some of the information is total nonsense.

An example is the Stagecoach X25 to and from Glasgow at the Glasgow Road/Greenfaulds High School stop where it has the daytime frequency of every 15 minutes where during lockdown it was every 30 minutes, and has been increased to every 20 minutes from July.

Also, the walking route from my flat to the Glasgow Road/Greenfaulds High School bus stop on Google Maps is total nonsense, as it shows to walk to Craiglinn Roundabout, then along the A8011. If I was to attempt walking along the A8011, there would be a very high probability of me ending up on the slab of the mortuary at Glasgow Royal Infirmary being as there are no pavements at all on that road which has fast moving motor traffic.

I'm not sure if Milton Keynes is like that as well, as that is also a New Town.
 

Robertj21a

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says 42 days. So anyone can be 42 days away from having no bus service as there is no obligation for the local authority to replace withdrawn services.

42 days is if the local authorities support the decision. It's 70 days if they don't.
 

carlberry

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So why are buses outside London not considered to be essential services? Buses can be withdrawn at short notice with no obligation for the local authority to replace then, because they are not considered "essential". The usage outside London is so low that buses are now almost irrelevant. In London, totally different story.
Local authorities can replace them if they want to. A service in London can be withdrawn if TfL wants it withdrawn, something that's now more likely with less money being thrown around in future. None of this is relevant to the topic of Traveline however.
 

Statto

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For me Merseytravel is how a site should be, easy to find bus timetables they now list every single route, including schools & Halton area services, most timetables have a pdf download too, you can do a route search rather than scrolling to the number you want, & they have a journey planner as well, the timetable list is how it should be too as in 1-2-3 ecc not 1-10-11-100 like Arriva's site.
 

nesw

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The Merseytravel layout works well for simple services, though the pdf timetables are the leaflet versions which is fine as long as leaflets are produced. Some good coding would ideally generate these ‘on the fly’ from the database. it’s unfortunate that the HTML matrix timetables display services with short trips in the wrong order (service 12, 26 are examples. This is a common problem that some simple coding would prevent from occurring .
 

borage

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The shutdown of Traveline South East & East Anglia has now happened, but Traveline South West and Traveline Midlands are still going – and as far as I can tell have the same features:
Thank you to the many thousands of you that have found our website useful over the last 20 years. We can offer the following three websites for your future enquiries:-

www.travelinemidlands.co.uk - a website provided by traveline west midlands using an interface with the same "look and feel" as our own. The point-to-point journey planner has national coverage.

www.travelinesw.com - a website provided by traveline south west using an interface that is more adaptable to a range of screen sizes. The point-to-point journey planner has national coverage.

www.traveline.info - a website provided by Traveline Information Limited using an interface that is more adaptable to a range of screen sizes. The point-to-point journey planner has national coverage. There is also a "Live Times" facility to check when buses are due to arrive at your bus stop. Please be aware that the timetables offered by this website each cover a seven-day period, and you may need to view "Next 7 Days" if you want to see changes from school terms to school holidays, or on bank holidays more than seven days after your selected date.
so panic over?
 

freetoview33

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The shutdown of Traveline South East & East Anglia has now happened, but Traveline South West and Traveline Midlands are still going – and as far as I can tell have the same features:

so panic over?
I thought the plan 4 or 5 years back was to simply keep traveline and close the regional variations, although I prefer Traveline South West as there are better search options compared to the main version.
 

MedwayValiant

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The Midlands version in particular is all but identical to the now closed South East version. There are minor differences on the front page - a reference to Tunbridge Wells is changed to Norwich - but that's about it. The two websites were undoubtedly built by the same developer(s) at the same time, so what has actually been achieved by closing the South East one? The development cost was sunk a decade ago, while the hosting cost is pocket money and will still be incurred anyway. Or asking the same question from the other end, since they contain the same information presented in the same way, why didn't the South East version just redirect to the Midlands version years ago?

In theory, traveline.info presents the same information as regards the Midlands and South of England, together with comparable information for the rest of Great Britain, but in a slightly different way. There's an issue somewhere though, because it claims that some places - Easingwold in North Yorkshire was the example that I stumbled across - have no bus services. Does this imply that Easingwold's bus services, which definitely do exist, are absent from the Traveline National Dataset? If so, who needs to know this so that they can put it right?
 

markymark2000

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The Midlands version in particular is all but identical to the now closed South East version. There are minor differences on the front page - a reference to Tunbridge Wells is changed to Norwich - but that's about it. The two websites were undoubtedly built by the same developer(s) at the same time, so what has actually been achieved by closing the South East one? The development cost was sunk a decade ago, while the hosting cost is pocket money and will still be incurred anyway. Or asking the same question from the other end, since they contain the same information presented in the same way, why didn't the South East version just redirect to the Midlands version years ago?

In theory, traveline.info presents the same information as regards the Midlands and South of England, together with comparable information for the rest of Great Britain, but in a slightly different way. There's an issue somewhere though, because it claims that some places - Easingwold in North Yorkshire was the example that I stumbled across - have no bus services. Does this imply that Easingwold's bus services, which definitely do exist, are absent from the Traveline National Dataset? If so, who needs to know this so that they can put it right?
From what it looks like from the original message, each traveline site is ran independently so while 1 area may not be affected, the others will continue as normal. Traveline is funded mainly by LAs and with LA budgets tightening, they may want to stop their contributions and push people onto their own council journey planners or onto the main Traveline site for simplicity.
 

nesw

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The South East, West, Anglia and Midlands Traveline websites were developed by a German company MENTZ following a competitive tender. I believe that the contracts were awarded ,renewed and extended at various times. TfLs journey planner also used the MENTZ platform and a number of County Councils used the company’s DIVA software to send data to Traveline.

At one stage the plan was for the South East website to host all timetables, instead just a national journey planner was added, possibly due to a conflict of interests with the national website. The national site still only includes coach services in journey plans andthey are not available in timetable format.

The large amount of short notice timetable changes this year has demonstrated how archaic the Traveline software has become and sites such as Bustimes now have far more accurate data as a result of the expanding coverage of Bus Open Data, with information direct from the operators’ scheduling software. This is due to become mandatory for all operators in England from January 2021, together with the requirement to provide bus tracking and fares data. The fares data should start to appear within the next few months.

I’d expect that the remaining Traveline sites will close when the hosting and software contracts end, possibly the national site will outlive the regional ones. I believe the idea is for ‘the market’ , that is operators’ and developers , to provide travel information and the huge, expensive Traveline service will be become obsolete within the next year or so.
 
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