Victorian govt releases public transport timetable data

The Victorian government has released the state's public transport timetable data, allowing developers and the likes of Google Maps to be able to provide detailed public transport trip directions for the city.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced via Reddit on Monday afternoon the release of the state government's public transport timetable data.

An image on Imgur, linked from the Reddit post by Andrews, compared the Google Maps travel options for Sydney and Melbourne, highlighting Melbourne's absence of transport information.

"This is how Melbourne compares to Sydney when you plan a public transport trip on Google Maps," said Andrews in a statement. "It's not good enough, and we're about to change it.

"Today, we've released Victoria's timetable data -- as promised. Soon, you'll be able to find your way on the apps and websites you use every day," he said.

Melbourne and Sydney public transport options compared on Google Maps Image: Imgur screenshot by Leon Spencer/ZDNet

The Public Transport Victoria (PTV) Timetable API is the same API currently used by PTV for its website and smartphone apps.

It has been released as a data set providing static timetable data and geographic information in the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) format via the state government's Victorian Government Data Directory.

It contains timetable and geographic data for all metropolitan and regional trains, metropolitan and regional buses, and metropolitan trams.

While it does not have a provision for real-time transport data, the data set is scheduled to be published on a weekly or "as needed" basis, as PTV regularly receives timetable amendments.

The government said that there may be periods where publication of the updated data set is delayed due to scheduled maintenance or unforeseen circumstances.

The PTV GTFS data set will contain a rolling 30 days of data from the date of export. However, some route information may not be complete for this entire period due to service information not yet being made available. As this information becomes available, it will be made available in subsequent data publications.

The move to release the Victorian public transport dataset publicly comes as Australia's other states work to publicly release government data, with New South Wales encouraging developers to create apps utilising publicly available data.

In September last year, New South Wales Minister for Finance Dominic Perrottet called on the private sector to provide solutions to help the state government utilise its publicly available open data sets.

The NSW government announced its open data policy in November 2013, stipulating that all NSW government agencies, including cluster agencies, departments, statutory bodies, and shared service providers, are to treat data as open by default.

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