A new website, FixMyTransport.com, has been launched by mysociety.org, which is behind Theyworkforyou.com, a site that helps voters track MPs' voting patterns. The new site allows public transport users to report faults or give compliments to operators and then gather support on the issues they identify, the site said.
FixMyTransport takes information in users' reports to identify and send them to the relevant operator. All reports are published online, allowing others to add support to users' campaigns or for operators to respond to the comments.
FixMyTransport said that the site uses information from "several public transport datasets", helping it to identify which operator is responsible for what service. The datasets are the National Public Transport Access Nodes (NaPTAN), the National Public Transport Gazetteer (NPTG) and the National Public Transport Data Repository (NPTDR). Those datasets provide access to information including the location of railway stations, bus stops, ferry terminals and airports, and the services that operate out of them.
Last year the Government launched a new website, data.gov.uk, where public sector data would be centrally published. Principles on what information can be used freely and in what circumstances were later set out in the Open Government Licence (OGL).
The OGL was established last year when the Government launched its Licensing Framework, the policy and legal framework for the re-use of public sector information. The OGL allows for the re-use of public and Government information on a perpetual, royalty-free basis regardless of any copyright or database rights that exist in the material.
The Government Licensing Framework also includes information on licenses for Government or public information that contains copyright or database rights that need to be paid for before re-use.
Mysociety founder Tom Steinberg is a member of the Government’s Public Sector Transparency Board.
The FixMyTransport initiative, which relies on 'crowdsourcing', could help individual campaigns "gain momentum" and make "public transport better for all", the site said. Crowdsourcing is the process of seeking support and advice from undefined members of society in order to fix problems.
"At a basic level, FixMyTransport makes it easy for people to send problem reports to the companies or authorities responsible for those problems," a statement on the website said.
"However, we know that simply sending an email often won't be enough to get a problem resolved. That's why we've built a complete system to make it easy to gather support other people, whether fellow commuters, colleagues or friends. We believe that this is worth doing because a transport company that doesn't respond to one person may very well respond to ten," the website said.
"We hope that that community comes to see FixMyTransport as a place where experts and old hands can transfer their skills to people who have little or no experience of lobbying for change," it said.
FixMyTransport said the website "represents an experiment to discover whether a sufficiently well designed internet service can help tip people over the edge from grumbling about a problem to taking action to resolve it".
Service operator contact details were added to the site through another crowdsourcing initiative, the website said.