route_type for private bus service

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Nikhil VJ

Jul 8, 2020, 10:48:45 PM7/8/20
to Transit Developers
Looking for the best route_type value for a privately owned and operated bus service (dedicated to officegoers) operating in a city where there are public bus services too.

- This is a booking-only service; customers have to download and sign up on an app, and book their journey a week to an hour in advance of the trip starting. 
- Ad-hoc onboarding, hailing from the road etc is not allowed.
- There are pre-determined stop locations so the customer has to make their way to the pickup location; the service is not going to come to their doorstep.

And am confused about which type this might be.

Here's some maybe candidates:
700 Bus Service
704 Local Bus Service
708 Mobility Bus Service
715 Demand and Response Bus Service
716 All Bus Services

.. but it would be better to have proper definitions for each type mentioned there. I'm just making guesses here.

Any clues? Anyone else with a similar service using a certain value?

Nikhil VJ

Leo Frachet

Jul 16, 2020, 8:49:36 AM7/16/20
to, Tim Millet,
Hi Nikhil,

Your need (booking needed, pre-determined stop locations) seems to be within the scope of GTFS-Flex: This extension will allow you to defined in data information like "book their journey a week to an hour in advance of the trip starting" or "pre-determined stop locations"

Regarding the route_type, well, I have no better suggestion than route_type=3 (so the bus). The extended route type that you're mentioning are not official, they are used by Google (not even all them, the 708 that you're mentioning is flagged as "not implemented" by Google) and let's stay that the wind isn't really blowing in their direction.

Overall, the concept of having a unique field, route_type, to provide information about:
- the bearing (rail vs tire vs water),
- the capacity (Light rail vs Heavy rail),
- the propulsion mode (cable car vs light rail)
- the steepness (funicular vs light rail)
and more recently (with the extended route type):
- the frequency (commuter rail vs S-Bahn),
- the time of day of service (Night Buses)
- the type of rider (School Bus)
- the purpose of the journey (Sightseeing Tram Service)
- the booking rules (as you are asking)

... seems personally to be doomed to fail. We'll always find a combination of characteristics which will not have a route_type defined.

We (MobilityData) are working on overhauling the system. We have shared yesterday with our members the intent to produce a survey to understand, beyond the existing route_type, what they are *used* for. There is an infinity of information that we *could* provide, but there is a limited amount of use-case of route_type as of today. 

In the meantime, I would suggest to start by using route_type=3 and to check GTFS-Flex for the other rules.
Leo Frachet | fr, en, de | Executive Director of MobilityData IO | | +1 514 222 7204 | Montréal, Québec, Canada

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