Transport Direct to close

DfT has closed its Transport Direct website. The Department claims equivalent travel information services are now widely available online from several other sources. Launched in 2004, the site was the very first journey planner to cover England, Scotland and Wales and has since assisted with 160m travel requests. Deputy Chief Executive of Bus Users, Stephen Morris, said, ‘This is an absolutely brilliant journey planner that’s been invaluable to the travelling public. We’ll be lost without it: literally.’

Transport campaigns group, Campaign for Better Transport, has criticised the closure. It claims it is the only website to allow people planning a journey to compare journey times, transport modes, prices and environmental impact across the entire country. It believes the decision is in ‘stark contrast’ to the DfT’s 2013 Door to Door strategy, in which ‘enabling data sharing and providing more comprehensive sources of travel information’ was a key aim, with Transport Direct the main platform to deliver this to passengers. It is calling for the Government to support a ‘comprehensive, high quality replacement’ for the website and deliver on its promise to ‘work with information owners to remove restrictions on commercial use of data so that it can be more readily shared.’

Public Transport Campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport, Martin Abrams, said, ‘The loss of Transport Direct will leave a substantial gap in transport information at a time when the Government really should be supporting transport companies to open up their data, not keep it under wraps. As the DfT’s own strategy emphasises, the technology to give passengers up to date information that enables them to make efficient and sustainable transport choices is readily available – what we need is a commitment from the transport industry to share the information itself.’

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