Transport Terms



ABT (Account-Based Ticketing)

Account-Based Ticketing is a ticketless way of allowing people to travel. Users tap or scan a smart card, mobile phone, contactless bank card or other secure token linked to an account to make their journey.

ALBUM (Association of Local Bus Company Managers)

ALBUM was formed in 1984 to provide a forum to exchange best practice among its members and for the promotion of high-quality services that encourage more people to travel by bus. There are around 150 members representing bus operators in the UK and ALBUM provides a networking opportunity for bus managers, to share best practice and …

ATCOCode (Association of Transport Co-ordinating Officers Code)

A unique identifier UK-wide for bus stops used in NaPTAN.

AVL (Automatic Vehicle Location)

Automatic Vehicle Location systems provide the GPS coordinates where a vehicle actually is.



BFCG (Bus Fare Cap Grant)

The Bus Fare Cap Grant (BFCG) scheme in England was introduced to enable bus operators (outside of London) to cap the price of a single journey by bus at £2, without running services unprofitably. The scheme was introduced in January 2022 and has been extended several times. It was launched by the Department for Transport …

BODS (Bus Open Data Service)

BODS provides bus timetable (TransXChange), real time vehicle location (SIRI-VM) and fares (NeTEx) data for every local bus service in England. It was commissioned following the Bus Services Act 2017, which included improvements designed to make commercial bus services more accessible to passengers. It is a Department for Transport led initiative to enable new applications, …

BRG (Bus Recovery Grant)

The Bus Recovery Grant (BRG) is a way for the Government to support commercial bus operators in England due to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) on their revenue from reduced passenger numbers. To be eligible for the Bus Recovery Grant funding, operators must:

BSIP (Bus Service Improvement Plan)

A BSIP will formulate the delivery of outcomes required by the National Bus Strategy and is developed in parallel with the LTA (Local Transport Authority). BSIP content prepared by LTAs in England and submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT) will be expected to represent an outline of positive changes that are planned.

BSOG (Bus Service Operators Grant)

A grant paid to operators of eligible bus services and community transport organisations to help them recover some of their fuel costs. The amount each bus operator receives is based on their annual fuel consumption. BSOG also benefits passengers by: helping operators keep fares down enabling operators to run services that might otherwise be unprofitable and …




CEN is the European Committee for Standardization. It is an association that brings together the National Standardization Bodies of 34 European countries. CEN provides a platform for developing European Standards and other technical documents concerning various kinds of products, materials, services and processes. CEN supports standardization activities in relation to a wide range of fields …

Commercial Service

A journey operated without financial assistance of any kind. Services of this kind are entirely dependent on its passengers to provide sufficient funds in the form of fares for it to sustain a profit. Some commercial services may be operated under contract to specific organisations with no financial benefit to speak of other than fare …

Contactless Model 1

Contactless Model 1 is the type of contactless card payment that you experience in a retail environment, like a shop. The products you are buying are totalled up by the cashier, or a self-service machine, and you pay the total on the screen with your contactless payment card. When paying in this way on a …

Contactless Model 2

Contactless Model 2 is the type of contactless card payment that you experience when you travel on public transport in some large towns and cities. A good example of this in the UK is London. Some Contactless Model 2 schemes require you to tap on when you board and then tap off when you get …

Contactless Model 3

In Contactless Model 3, a contactless EMV card or device is associated with a pre-purchased ticket and used to travel. Travelling on a Contactless Model 3 scheme would require you to tap an associated contactless card on a card reader before travel so the bus operator can confirm the card gives you the authority to …

Contracted Service

A journey that is operated according to a contract between two or more organisations, at least one of whom is a bus service provider. Most contracts of this nature provide financial benefit to the operator, usually from a council, and are legally required to be put out to tender among interested parties; payments vary in …

CPT (Confederation of Passenger Transport)

The voice of the bus and coach sector, CPT brings together over 1,000 bus and coach operators across the UK, plus a wide range of suppliers to the bus and coach industries, including vehicle manufacturers, software providers and law firms.

Tap & Cap contactless

Tap & Cap is one of several names given to the type of Contactless Model 2 payment method. It allows you to simply “tap” your contactless payment card (or device) onto a reader at the start of your journey. What you are charged for the journey is calculated later and then automatically from your account. …

TOTO (Tap On, Tap Off) contactless

Tap On, Tap Off is one of several names given to a type of Contactless Model 2 payment method. It allows you to simply “tap” your contactless payment card (or device) onto a reader at the start of your journey and “tap” again on a reader when you complete your journey. What you are charged …



DRT (Demand Responsive Transport)

Demand responsive transport (also known as demand responsive transit) is a form of shared transport for where vehicles alter their routes for each journey based on demand, without using a fixed route or timetabled journeys. These vehicles typically pick up and drop off passengers in locations according to passengers needs and can include taxis, buses or other vehicles.

Dynamic Destination Display

Each journey on a bus services has a final destination but in some contexts that information is not useful to users. For example with circular routes, both inbound and outbound journeys may be headed towards a bus station. This isn’t very useful to someone currently at the bus station. Instead of always showing the final …



ENCTS (English National Concessionary Travel Scheme)

A national scheme funded and run by the Department for Transport and administered by Local Authorities across England. The scheme provides all eligible elderly English residents, and eligible disabled people, with free off-peak bus travel on weekdays and all day at weekends and Bank Holidays. Within Greater London the scheme is linked to the Freedom …


A tickets ‘entitlement’ defines when and how it can be used. Fixed date tickets can be used many times during a valid date range i.e a school term pass. Fixed date ticket entitlement will be a date range. Flexible tickets are valid for use over a set time period e.g a day ticket which can …

EP (Enhanced Partnership)

An Enhanced Partnership is an agreement between a local authority and the bus operators in its region, to deliver a joined-up network of bus services. In the past, bus operators could operate as if their competitor operators didn’t exist. This makes catching the bus harder for those that do. By working more closely together, through …

ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival)

ETA is often displayed on the screens on bus stops or train stations. It is a prediction of when a vehicle will arrive, based on where it is at that moment. It can also be used by a journey planner as an indication of when a traveller will arrive at a destination.

ETM (Electronic Ticketing Machine)

ETMs are machines with computer processors and memory which issue tickets for travel. ETMs are either designed for in-vehicle use, as fixed or handheld units, or for use at stations and other off-bus locations in the form of electronic kiosks.  In-vehicle fixed electronic ticket machines (ETM) are most commonly used on bus services, although they …



First & Last Mile, First mile/last mile, FMLM

First & Last Mile describes passenger travel in the context of getting to a transit provider stop, and then from a stop to a final location. In the 2014 Active Travel Survey, walking was recorded as a ‘stage’ (where there is a change in the mode of transport) in around 1/3 of bus trips. Micromobility …

FTZ (Future Transport Zone)

The Future Transport Zone (FTZ) programme trials innovative new solutions, powered by digital technologies, to make public transport better and more connected within communities. The Department for Transport select regions to become Future Transport Zones and provide funding to deliver a programme of investment in the region.



GBFS (General Bikeshare Feed Specification)

The open data standard for bikeshare. GBFS makes real-time data feeds in a uniform format publicly available online, with an emphasis on findability. Under the North American Bikeshare Association’s leadership, GBFS has been developed by public, private sector and non-profit bike share system owners and operators, application developers, and technology vendors. GBFS is intended as a specification …

GTFS (General Transit Feed Specification)

A data specification that allows public transport operators to publish their transit data in a format that can be consumed by a wide variety of software applications. Today, the GTFS data format covers both static and real-time data and is used by thousands of public transport providers. You can learn more about the GTFS specification …



HOPS (Host Operator or Processing System)

The central system which holds information about everyone’s smart cards. HOPS automates many of the complex daily tasks of a smart transport ticketing scheme including transaction processing and asset management.




Some bus operators will split journeys into two sections, usually in half. This can be because: In this scenario, passengers would remain on the same bus. The driver might change. However, operators have to represent this in their schedule data, so they might show two half journeys even though it’s the same vehicle. This means …


The serial number encoded on a smart card but not known to a customer.


ITSO are the guardian of the ITSO Specification, which aims to make travelling on public transport throughout the UK seamless and easier by enabling smart ticketing technology.  The ITSO community is a membership of public sector authorities, transport operators and equipment and solution suppliers to the smart ticketing industry, who use the ITSO Specification to …




In bus operations, livery is the uniform or branding worn by a person, object or vehicle that shows a relationship between the wearer and bus operator. Bus livery can include seat coverings, bus signs, wraps, uniforms and more! A comprehensive livery brings consistency to a fleet, while clear route branding ensures quick identification for passengers.

Local Service / Local Bus Service Registration

A bus service that uses public service vehicles to carry passengers who pay separate fares over short distances – usually less than 15 miles from the point of boarding.  Operators of Local Bus Services must register their services with the Traffic Commissioner and provide copies of the registrations to the local authorities the services pass …

LTA (Local Transport Authority)

Local transport authorities are partnerships of local authorities in England outside Greater London. There are 38 LTA’s. Decision making for major transport infrastructure spending is devolved to these bodies from the Department for Transport.



MaaS (Mobility-as-a-Service)

MaaS is a type of service through a joint digital channel that enables users to plan, book, and pay for multiple types of mobility services. The concept describes a shift away from personally-owned modes of transportation and towards mobility provided as a service.


Serial number printed on the front of a smart card.


Micromobility refers to a range of small, lightweight vehicles operating at speeds typically below 25 km/h (15 mph) and driven by users personally (unlike rickshaws). Micromobility devices include bicycles, e-bikes, electric scooters, electric skateboards, shared bicycles, and electric pedal-assisted (pedelec) bicycles.



NAP (National Access Points)

National Access Points facilitate access, easy exchange and reuse of transport-related data to help support the provision of EU-wide interoperable travel and traffic services to end-users. They can take various forms (database, data warehouse, data marketplace, repository, web portal etc) depending on the type of data concerned. List of National Access Points.

NaPTAN (National Public Transport Access Node)

The UK’s national dataset of public transport access points (bus stops, rail stations, airports, ferry piers, tram/metro/underground stops) is known as the NaPTAN database. It records approximately 400,000 bus stops across England, Scotland and Wales, as well as other transport terminals including rail stations and airports. NaPTAN consists of: A standard for identifying and naming …

National Operator Code dataset (NOC)

The National Operator Code dataset (NOC) contains unique national operator codes that link to the local operator codes in the Traveline National Data Set (TNDS) and NextBuses API. NOC’s are primarily required for BODS and used for Passenger’s TXC and SIRI feeds. The NOC is also used to convert local regional operator codes that might exist in exports from the Traveline …

NBS (National Bus Strategy)

In September 2019, the government set out how it would launch a revolution in bus services – delivering a better deal for bus users and committing to publishing a National Bus Strategy.

NCSD (National Coach Services Database)

The National Coach Services Database (NCSD) consists of schedule (timetable) data for several mainland UK coach services not contained in the Traveline National Dataset (TNDS). It may therefore be regarded as supplementary to Traveline data, as opposed to being a dataset describing a geographically complete national coach network.

NextBuses API

An open API from Traveline. The API allows users to access live departure information by stop across Great Britain. Real-time information is provided where it is available and scheduled departures where not. The API is based on the SIRI standard, using the SIRI-SM function through a request/response communication mechanism. SIRI is an XML protocol that …

NPTG (National Public Transport Gazetteer)

The NPTG is closely associated with the NaPTAN dataset and contains details of every city, town, village and suburb in Great Britain. This dataset is based on usage of names, rather than legal definitions and so includes local informal names for places as well as their official names. As a topographic database of towns and …



Open Data

Open data is data that has been made available to the public for personal, educational or commercial use. It is usually released under an open data license, such as the Open Government License Version 3.0. Many public transport operators release their data as open data. Certain datasets must be released to the public under UK …



PBS (Public Bike Share)

Bike share can be broadly defined as any setting where bicycles are pooled for multiple users. Models include Public Bike Share (PBS) – self-service on-street docked or dockless stations – workplace pool bikes, train/bus station hubs, loans, lockers and peer to peer sharing. PBS schemes often make their bike and bay/dock locations available as a public API. …

PSP (Payment Service Provider)

Offers retailers online services for accepting electronic payments by a variety of methods including credit card, bank-based payments such as direct debit, bank transfer, and real-time bank transfer based on online banking.

PSVAR (Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations)

The powers of the Equality Act 2010 allow the government to make regulations requiring all new land-based public transport vehicles (trains, taxis, buses and coaches) to be accessible to disabled people, including those who need to remain in wheelchairs. The regulations that govern access to buses and coaches are known as PSVAR. PSVAR has been applied to all …

PVR (Peak Vehicle Requirement)

The maximum number of buses required to keep a service (or groups of services where they share vehicles) operating correctly. This can usually be calculated through careful observation of the timetable; a service that runs every 15 minutes and takes 40 minutes from end-to-end would usually have a Peak Vehicle Requirement of six vehicles (with …



RTPI (Real Time Passenger Information)

Provides you with information about public transport services in ‘real time’. This allows you to see which services are due to arrive at stops and what time they are expected.

Running Number

A number used to identify the specific duty any one bus is following for a day, with variations across the country. Other names are sometimes applied, such as car number, carriage number, car run, diagram or duty. Running cards are allocated to vehicles to identify its service for the day and may or may not …



SIRI (Service Interface for Real Time Information)

In order to make real-time transport information compatible between different systems, several European countries joined efforts to create a standard protocol known as Service Interface for Real Time Information (SIRI). This protocol describes (at length!) how different systems can share real-time passenger information, allowing different suppliers, operators and local authorities to work together without costly …

SIRI-SM (Stop Monitoring)

A feed for the estimated time of arrival of a vehicle to a particular stop. SIRI-SM can also include further information about vehicles such as the vehicle’s location.

SIRI-SX (Situation Exchange)

SIRI-SX is a data format that allows the exchange of structured messages relating to public transport services and networks. It is commonly associated with disruption information and is used to communicate changes to customers.

SIRI-VM (Vehicle Monitoring)

Providing a map with live tracking of vehicles is possible thanks to the SIRI-VM feed. SIRI -VM can also include further information about upcoming stops, such as the vehicle’s ETA.



Tap & Cap contactless

Tap & Cap is one of several names given to the type of Contactless Model 2 payment method. It allows you to simply “tap” your contactless payment card (or device) onto a reader at the start of your journey. What you are charged for the journey is calculated later and then automatically from your account. …

Timing Point

A point on any bus service, usually but not always represented by a bus stop, at which buses are expected to arrive and/or depart at the time indicated. Notwithstanding exceptional circumstances such as roadworks, operators are required to ensure that 95% of services serve all timing points within the window of not more than one …

TNDS (Traveline National Dataset)

The Traveline National Dataset (TNDS) contains public transport timetables for bus, light rail, tram and ferry services in Great Britain. It does not include national rail services. TNDS (v2.1) includes coach data from the National Coach Services Database (NCSD). It is managed by Traveline, which works with local authorities to combine all public transport timetables …

TOTO (Tap On, Tap Off) contactless

Tap On, Tap Off is one of several names given to a type of Contactless Model 2 payment method. It allows you to simply “tap” your contactless payment card (or device) onto a reader at the start of your journey and “tap” again on a reader when you complete your journey. What you are charged …

Traffic Commissioner (TC)

A Government official responsible for overseeing bus services throughout their respective regions. They have the power to summon and discipline bus service providers whom they deem to be providing an inadequate service, especially where services run unreasonably poorly and/or are changed without permission. In exceptional circumstances, they can withdraw operators^ licences to provide services.


Traveline Information Ltd (TIL) is a service funded by public transport companies across the country. It aims to provide comprehensive information on bus services on a regional basis to assist passengers in getting where they need to go. It also provides information on other forms of public transport. Its information is relayed to councils, who …

TXC (TransXChange)

The UK national standard for exchanging bus schedules and related data. It is used for: the electronic registration of bus routes the Traffic Area Network the exchange of bus routes with other computer systems such as journey planners and vehicle real-time tracking systems.

TXC-PTI (TransXChange UK PTI Profile)

Also known as the BODS TransXChange Profile, TXC-PTI is a set of additional guidance to the TransXChange schema. The profile lays out how TransXChange must be produced for use in the BODS.



Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

The Government agency responsible for dealing with certain kinds of commercial road-based operators, including bus service providers. Companies are required by Law to submit confirmed changes at least 56 days before said changes are implemented, although in special situations that can be relaxed.



WBDS (Welsh Bus Data Service)

Transport for Wales is developing a Welsh Bus Data Service (WBDS) to provide better quality information on bus services nationwide. The WBDS covers operational and financial data on buses in Wales to support passengers, public sector decision-makers, third-party services, and researchers. It will replace the systems currently used by the Traveline journey planner. TfW will …