Jersey is changing bus operators at the end of this year, it’s official. I hope the new operator, CT Plus, will finally make their timetables available in the internationally recognized General Transit Feed Specification.
What is this and why?
- It is an open standard, already used by hundreds of transportation agencies worldwide.
- It integrates with services like Google Maps on your computer or smartphone, allowing you to see routes and timetables in your own language from wherever you are on the island.
- It is environmentally responsible, allowing fewer paper maps to be printed and encouraging people to use the bus, since it is easier to plan trips.
- It furthers CT Plus’ stated goal as a Social Enterprise, having ‘a positive social impact in the communities where we work’.
Currently, Connex operates the buses here, and CT Plus operates the buses in Guernsey. Both take the same obsolete approach to their route data availability. To plan a trip, you have to visit their websites, cross-reference several different routes, and download various PDF files with timetables. This is tedious at best on a desktop computer.
It’s impossible on a smartphone. Data is also available in English-only. How is this helpful to the many tourists visiting from France and Germany? Why are we still printing thousands of paper maps in 2012?
Look at this example trip I just did in central London, it provides clear walking and bus directions.
All public transit modes such as bus and train timetables are displayed, making it very easy to get around.
I called and emailed CT Plus to ask them about this back in February when they were proposing to come to Jersey. My email went unanswered and the phone message I left was never returned.
I also emailed TTS Minister Deputy Kevin Lewis to ask him to support this idea, that email also went unanswered. I guess everyone is just too busy to reply, the poor things.
If you are here in Jersey now and support this idea, contact your Deputy or Minister to ask them to support it. If you are considering visiting Jersey and want to use your mobile phone to plan trips, contact CT Plus to ask them to move to this user-friendly format already.