Want more riders? Open up your NextBus API with
Real-time passenger information is essential — that’s why you invested in NextBus for your transit agency.
But can your riders access this real-time info on Google Maps, Transit App, Moovit and Citymapper? What about the thousands of potential riders that are already using these apps to get around? Your service is entirely missing.
Let’s fix this
Fortunately, there is an easy fix: make your NextBus feed public and activate the
We have a step by step guide below, or you can contact us now to walk you through the process.
How to set up
GTFS-realtime for a transit system on NextBus
There’s one important step before you start, and then it’s a two part process to fully set up
Before you begin, confirm that your schedule is on Google Maps
Part 1: Convert your NextBus feed to GTFS-realtime
- Confirm that your NextBus feed is properly configured with trip identifiers which match those in the
tripTagelement, and useful values for the
- Ask NextBus to make your feed public (see if it’s already public here). Note that there may be additional fees associated with this step.
- Ask NextBus to activate the
GTFS-realtimefeature. Again, there may be additional fees associated with this step.
- Get the URLs for the
GTFS-realtimevehicle positions, service alerts, and trip updates feeds
Part 2: Share your GTFS-realtime feeds
- Google Maps: Fill out Google’s Transit Live Updates form to establish a relationship and start testing the feeds (you will need the feed ID assigned by Google for your
- Transit App: Contact Transit App’s Partnerships team to establish a relationship and get a beta version of Transit App to test with the feeds
- Moovit: Contact Moovit’s Partnerships team to establish a relationship and get a beta version of Moovit to test with the feeds
- Citymapper: Vote for your city to be included in Citymapper
- Transitland: Add the static
GTFSfeed to Transitland
- Transitfeeds: Add the
GTFS-realtimefeeds to Transitfeeds
Still not sure? Check out our FAQs below:
Q: What are the benefits of GTFS-realtime?
Access Untapped Ridership: potential riders already using Google Maps and other apps will see your service as an option for getting around.
Increase Customer Satisfaction: existing riders want and need more choices on how they access real-time info.
Enable Regional Integration: your service will more easily integrate with other regional transportation options, working towards a true multi-modal, connected system.
Improve Developer Relations: developers working on solutions for all transit agencies will have access to your real-time data via a robust, standards-compliant, open data API.
Q: But we already have real-time info. Why do we need GTFS-realtime?
You might be thinking, “people can already see where their bus is, and when it will arrive — they just need to go to NextBus.com or download the app. There’s even a NextBus API for developers.”
This is a great start. But the NextBus API alone falls short of the industry standard. In the past few years,
GTFS-realtime has become the de-facto open standard, widely adopted by Google and app developers. It is the natural outgrowth of the static
GTFS format which Google and TriMet in Portland pioneered a decade ago. It is the technology that underlies Google Maps’ Live Transit Updates, and many of today’s most popular transit apps.
Q: Help! This is complicated. Can you do this for me?
Q: Are there other options?
OneBusAway is an open source platform for real-time transit information that includes a
GTFS-realtime adapter for NextBus’ API. In fact, this open source converter existed before NextBus offered
GTFS-realtime as a feature of its platform.
Q: We’re not on NextBus. Do we need GTFS-realtime?
If you’re on another proprietary real-time API, get in touch and let’s talk about your options for enabling
Q: Who else thinks GTFS-realtime is important?
Kurt Raschke has been blogging about the limitations of the NextBus API and the importance of open standards like
GTFS-realtime for many years. Also, Dr. Sean Barbeau at USF’s Center for Urban Transportation Research has also been an important advocate for
GTFS-realtime. We recommend his presentations Open Transit Data — A Developer’s Perspective and The Many Uses of GTFS Data. Many transit agencies are already sharing trip updates, service alerts, and vehicle location data via
GTFS-realtime; you can browse their feeds on Transitfeeds.com.
Q: I have another question…
We would love to try and help. Please contact us.