Open to new ideas on the railways | Letters

Open to new ideas on the railways | Letters
Jacqueline Starr on the Rail Delivery Group’s open-data initiatives, and Peter Holbrook on the benefits of the social enterprise business model

We agree with Dave Ashton (Letters, 12 May) that real-time rail data is needed to better inform tech firms and passengers, and this is exactly what we are doing. Open data is crucial in setting the railway’s vision to improve the whole customer experience from door to door. The Rail Delivery Group has already done important work in this area. We are providing free services and access to data. We have approximately 3,000 developers using these services, 20 datasets available, and we provide a 24/7 support service. We recently held a startup day to explain to developers how they can work with the rail industry, and more meetings are planned. We are working closely with the Department for Transport and we are leading the Data Task Force. This is all part of the rail industry’s long-term plan to deliver simpler ticketing, more services, quicker journeys and better value for money for our customers, with the support of government.
Jacqueline Starr
Managing director, customer experience, Rail Delivery Group

• Andrew Adonis (, 17 May) is right: our railways should not be used as political totems on which the tired debate of nationalisation v privatisation can be played out. However, in calling for a mixed market, where public companies can compete with private ones, he perpetuates this public/private dichotomy when more plural forms of ownership can exist.

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Source: Guardian Transport

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