[Tagging] Public Transport Timetables

Paul Allen pla16021 at gmail.com
Wed Nov 7 17:29:26 UTC 2018

On Wed, Nov 7, 2018 at 5:08 PM Jo <winfixit at gmail.com> wrote:

> (started writing this several hours ago)
> And another that goes into full detail, listing all the departures at the
> first stop and then lists all stops, with the most common times between
> stops as roles. For this we would need separate public_transport=timetable
> relations.
> I've been trying how that could work and I can confirm what everybody
> already knew: it's a lot of work, even for lines that seem relatively
> simple at first sight! :-) An incredible time sink.

And it can go stale, very quickly.  Sure, there are places where the same
route has operated to the
same schedule since time immemorial, but there are other places where
timetables change on whim.

And it's re-inventing the wheel.  GTFS already exists.  Could we do
better?  Maybe, maybe not.  Could
we convince operators to duplicate their effort in maintaining GTFS and our
alternative?  I very much
doubt it.  Could we convince data consumers to support our format as well
as GTFS?  I very much
doubt that too.  This is not just re-inventing the wheel, it's insisting
everyone has to fit our wheel as
well as the wheel they already have.  Good luck with that.

What we can do is come up with a tag to place on a route that points at a
GTFS feed on the web.
That feed could be published by the operator or by an independent
organization.  We could perhaps
encourage mappers to generate feeds where the operator doesn't provide them
and maybe even
go so far as to run a web server hosting those feeds until such time as a
more official feed is
available.  Even offer an alternative feed that our tag points to when the
official feed is known to be
seriously incorrect.

I think we could (probably should) have a tag linking to the operator's
timetable whether or not
a GTFS feed is available.  Even the query tool of the standard map exposes
links that can be clicked
on.  That doesn't require a third-party app to make the info available to
an ordinary user.

So, an interesting exercise.  One that (perhaps) had to be tried to
determine if it was a good idea or
not.  And maybe there's room for a sloppy "once a day" or "once a week" tag
on minor routes that
will probably never get a GTFS feed.

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