Public Transport Victoria has announced plans to release the arrival APIs for the state’s buses and trams in a move that would see them finally catch up to Australia’s other major cities. This will allow commuters to receive real-time updates on public transport based on GPS information instead of relying on a static timetable as they do now.
The transport authority, who operates the public transport system in Melbourne, look to have earmarked March 2015 as the formal release date. While this date is unconfirmed, a spokesman told iTnews that PTV was "in the process of expanding the data it releases to include real-time bus, tram and disruption data as part of this API in 2015”.
This would align with the news that PTV is planning to hand over the information to developers via a series of ‘hackathon’ events in Melbourne to “drive innovation and accelerate the development of applications using the enhanced dataset that will be made available by PTV through DataVic”. This will be in time to meet its target of fostering at least three new or “significantly improved” digital products before 31 May 2015.
PTV is late in using this type of data, with third-party tram operator, Yarra Trams, having offered commuters real-time arrival estimates for several years via a smartphone app. After an aborted GPS equipment rollout across Victoria’s metropolitan bus fleet in 2013, the travel authority have now awarded a new contract to Smartrak to begin work on a newer system. Public Transport Victoria will finally bring Melbourne up to date.