The Department for Transport is to close the government-run Transport Direct website, blaming increased competition from other sources such as Google Maps, RAC route planner, AA route planner and Cyclestreet.
Transport Direct, which was set up in 2004, will close on 30 September 2014 – despite helping users with more than 160 million travel information requests. The government agency said it proved particularly useful during the 2012 London Olympics.
Ironically, it’s the government’s policy of open source information that may have led to Transport Direct’s closure: in recent years, the government has worked with transport operators to give web developers live access to timetable data and other travel information.
“As a result, a number of journey planning websites have emerged, offering similar services to Transport Direct.”
The Department for Transport officially lists seven alternatives to Transport Direct, all of which provide national journey planners for public transport, car and cycle, rail and coach fares information, and maps of routes, areas and interchanges:
- Google Maps (for public transport and car journey planning)
- RAC route planner (for car journey planning)
- AA route planner (for car journey planning)
- Traveline (for public transport)
- Traveline south east (for public transport)
The DfT did stress that this wasn’t a sign the government was completely outsourcing travel information services. “After Transport Direct closes, DfT will continue to take an active interest in journey planning. The department will also assist others in the provision of comprehensive, accurate travel information services.”
Did you use Transport Direct? Did you rely on its services? Did you even know it existed? If you’re sad to see it go, let us know.