Black and white photo of an early, open top bus with people waving out the top

Bus Fair?

We all need to use transport, whether it’s to get to work, to school, to the doctor, to meet friends and family, or the myriad other things that are vital for our everyday modern existence.

Public transport promises the ability to travel quickly, conveniently and in a more environmentally-friendly way. In Greater Manchester, we’re lucky enough to be able to travel via train, tram or bus. Unlike London or many European cities in Greater Manchester these modes are all treated as separate ways of traveling all with their own price structures.

With the tram and train it is relatively easy to find out in advance the cost of traveling, but within the deregulated bus system this is not the case. Many people have to take a bus to catch a train, get a bus after leaving a tram, or even take two buses to work, so being able to understand the cost of travel or the cheapest way to get from A to B is not an easy task — especially when multiple operators run a bus route, or when a different operator runs a service after a certain time of day.

Open Data Manchester is one organisation amongst many that thinks having an open and transparent pricing structure for transport is essential for the economic and social health of our communities. Knowing the cost of a journey before travel helps us choose our options prior to stepping onto the bus footplate helping make public transport more accessible.

In 2010 we successfully accessed bus fare information through a Freedom of Information request to the then Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive. This year we applied again for the release of bus fare information for Greater Manchester. This has been partially successful, with the fares of 37 bus operators being released. There has been an exemption for Stagecoach Manchester and Nexus Move under section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act, stating that this information is already in the public domain.

Having all this data is great, but as we found in 2010 bus fare data lives in a world of its own, and takes a bit of transformation to make it useful — there is also a lot of legacy information there. We think that being able to understand the bus fare landscape is essential to keeping Greater Manchester moving, so if you — like us — like buses, and think that getting this information out there will benefit the residents and communities of Greater Manchester, come along, dive in and lets make this data useful.

Join us on Tuesday 2nd July 18.30–20.30 at The Federation Manchester M4 4BF. Registration here

If you want to have a look at the data, it can be found on our Github repository here