Open Transport Data

The Guardian published an article on National Rail Enquiries’ refusal to be sensible about licensing its data. Malcolm Barclay has mused on NRE’s inflexibility, claiming “They are stuck in the command & control mentality of the industrial age and have zero understanding of what open data is or it’s benefits”.
This whole debacle is reminiscent of Eric S Raymond’s “The Cathedral and The Bazaar” for me – where
TfL have had no problems making their data available free of change, and they’re working really hard to bring the Trackernet service back to life. Emer Coleman, Director of Digital Projects at the GLA, posted “But you can be assured that it definitely will be back and hopefully the solution will be so robust there will be no chance of it falling over like it did the last time. That is TfL’s main concern that once it foes back its there for good and in a robust way”. Hats off to them – TfL were caught by surprise with the popularity of the Trackernet API, and they’re tackling it head-on.
If TfL can be this innovative and forward-thinking, why can’t NRE?
NRE’s jealous data-guarding is not just limited to real-time train running information. If you want daily-updates of fares, timetable and routeing guide (the official definition of the routes you can use with ‘Any Permitted’ route tickets – a complicated beast that few people properly understand), you will need to part with £27,430 according to ATOC’s RSP Data Feeds document. That’s a ludicrous price that serves only to lock data on our country’s rail system away from prying eyes. Heck, it’s £600 if you want a CD with test/trial information.
This data is probably of most value to companies who are deeply involved in selling tickets, such as TheTrainLine and those who

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