Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Melbourne public transport: Tram, train, bus users stranded with unusable data
Use Google Maps to find the best way to get from the CBD to St Kilda, say, and you'll see options on how to get there by car, bicycle or on foot, but not by train, tram or bus. This is because the state has never publicly released its timetable data to be used by Google or any other developer.
Public Transport Victoria took a step towards fixing this situation on Thursday when it quietly released an "app programming interface" containing the state's timetable data. But just as PTV's own smartphone app was swamped by hostile reviews upon its release almost two years ago, this latest move by the authority has failed to please either the app developers or public transport advocates, who both say the data release is virtually useless.
The data has been released to conform to a state government policy to make its data available for the public good, in a format that "matches the operational needs of our business", PTV says. But it was evidently not released in a format that matches the needs of most developers who want to make apps for the public.