DfT to spend £37m on real-time bus data service

Department has announced a new competition to manage open timetable, fare and location data on buses in England from 2025

Two procurement notices for the Department for Transport’s Bus Open Data Service (BODS) have come along at once. The department has awarded a short-term deal to existing supplier KPMG to maintain the service until March 2025 and published an information notice about a new contract to provide it after that date.

The department awarded consultancy KPMG a £13.05m contract to continue running BODS from September 2023 to March 2025 without competition. It said in the award notice that the existing contract had been delayed and modified due to Covid-19 restrictions. The replacement contract, which will be openly tendered, will come into effect in late 2024 or early 2025 with a separate prior information notice from the department valuing this at £24m.

Since January 2021, bus operators in England outside London have been obliged to provide BODS with real-time data on routes, timetables, fares, tickets and vehicle locations, which it publishes openly.

The service builds on similar, earlier work by Transport for London covering buses in the capital, but is larger in scope with data from hundreds of operators. Its output can be freely used by websites and apps, with the intention of helping passengers plan journeys, spend less time waiting for buses and choose the best value tickets.

In March, the department said that data on transport should be open by default to help people plan journeys more effectively, particularly those who use more than one type of transport. It set up a pilot online catalogue datasets, with some limited in scope or with charges for access.

PublicTechnology staff

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