First Rail is one of the UK’s most experienced rail operators, carrying around 140 million passengers across their two franchises. First Bus is also one of Britain’s largest bus operations. They operate around a fifth of al local bus services outside London with a fleet of some 6,400 buses carrying approximately 1.6 million passengers daily. TransportAPI are the preferred data transport supplier to the group.
TransportAPI worked with First Group to deliver a journey planner to enable a consistent user experience over online and mobile, across all platforms. We provide access to schedules and timetables for both bus and train. To meet the needs of First Group and their customers TransportAPI have developed the most comprehensive live departures information available. We have integrated 10 different live servers from different regions, complementing our nationwide coverage of public transport data.
Increasingly transport operators want to help the whole journey planning experience, not just provide information about their own services. TransportAPI have customised the journey planning experience by integrating complex back end planners and customising for the needs of First Group. This means that First Group users can benefit from a hugely personalised experience including customised walking distances, and highlighting First services within journey plans.
Our partnership opens up some great opportunities to integrate our data with other transport feeds and provide customers with better journey planning information
Dave Lynch, CIO, FirstGroup
First Group recently hit 50 data requests a second that’s 4 million hits per day. TransportAPI is configured to meet this increasing demand with the ability to instantly increase the size of our server clusters.
The ability to customise our API is also a key benefit to developers creating apps for First Group. For example retrieving bus stops filtered by both location, and the particular bus services that depart from each stop. This allows developers to improve the user experience by identifying the nearest stop that a user can catch their bus from. This can useful in unfamiliar towns, and busy bus stations, where they may be 20 or 30 stands. Such filtering allows app developers to build the apps they want and not be constrained by one particular platform.
Having a single point of responsibility for data performance and quality is what attracted First Group to TransportAPI. Without this it can be difficult for operators to know who to call when there are problems with particular data formats. There is inconsistency in standard industry data formats, and when this is combined with the complexity associated with a huge number of different data suppliers – varying regionally, and by organisation, it is very challenging for operators to provide a comprehensive view. This is the headache that TransportAPI have taken away from First Group benefitting the vast number of commuters who use First Group services everyday.
“We’re pleased to be working with Transport API. Our partnership opens up some great opportunities to integrate our data with other transport feeds and provide customers with better journey planning information. Across our business we’re working hard to make our bus services more attractive and encourage more people to travel with First Bus. Our partnership with Transport API further supports our passenger growth strategy “. Dave Lynch, CIO, First Group