Bus working timetables - non-current material

M Clary made this Freedom of Information request to Transport for London

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Transport for London,

I very much welcome the availability of current bus working timetables online. However, I would like to clarify the position for older working timetables, in the light of responses given to earlier FOI requests.

FOI-0605-1516 (Glen Turnbull). In the response of 3rd September, Ida Harris stated that "we hope to be able to make the current working timetables, along with data about previous timetables, available on our website before October 2015".

FOI-2001-1314 (M Clary). In Lee Hill's response of 14 March 2014 he says "I can confirm that the intention to publish covers both current and former bus schedules (where held). However, if there are to be any changes to this plan we will, of course, re-evaluate our position in applying an exemption." I had pointed out earlier in the thread that the documents requested in some refused FOI requests would no longer be current by the time the proposed WTT publication system kicked in. Technically it could thus be argued that the documents asked for had not in fact been provided, thus it was a breach of the FOI Act, though I accept that in practice the requestor might only have been interested in the
timetable current at the time it was (eventually) published.

As yet, nothing non-current has appeared on the website. On the other hand, nor has any indication been given that the position on such material has changed from that stated in the FOI responses above. I am therefore requesting that TfL should clarify its position on this.

Given the large amount of material involved, I can understand that the resource implications could be large. If that is the issue, is there any possibility of interested individuals being given access as some sort of crowd-sourcing exercise in order to create equivalents of the current WTTs?

Yours faithfully,

M Clary

Dear Transport for London,

I should have received a repsonse by 23 November but nothing has been forthcoming. Please advise on progress.

Yours faithfully,

M Clary

Tom Farooqi left an annotation ()

They are just being very bad with this situation now, either they publish the old ones from like 2006-2015 for example or they provide them under each requests made.

Dear Transport for London,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

It is with some regret that I am writing to request an internal review of Transport for London's handling of my FOI request 'Bus working timetables - non-current material', as I do not wish to engage resources unnecessarily.

By law, I should have received a reply by 23 November. I pointed this out on 29 November but still, more than six weeks later, I have heard nothing.

I have since come across a further FOI request TfL Ref: FOI-1995-1314 from March 2014, refusing to provide working timetables "as it is subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under Section 22 - information intended for future publication; we intend to publish all of the bus schedules we hold on our website this summer.

Note the use of the word "all", not "current". The specific documents requested in that request (and other FOIs around the same time) have never been published, though more current versions have. I am aware that an intention is not the same as a promise but having refused requests on the basis of that intention it would seem to go against the spirit (at least) of the Act to neither carry through this intention nor to clarify whether or not it will ever be carried through.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/b...

Yours faithfully,

M Clary

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Clary

 

TfL Ref:          IRV-118-1617

 

Thank you for your request for an internal review which was received on 15
January 2017.

 

You have stated that you are dissatisfied with the handling of your
request for information under the Freedom of Information Act and that the
response to your request was incomplete.

 

The review will be conducted by an internal review panel in accordance
with TfL’s Internal Review Procedure, which is available via the following
URL:

 

[1]http://content.tfl.gov.uk/internal-revie...

 

Every effort will be made to provide you with a response by 10 February
2017. However, if the review will not be completed by this date, we will
contact you and notify you of the revised response date as soon as
possible.

 

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please
feel free to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Gemma Jacob

Information Access Advisor

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

[2][TfL request email]

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear FOI,

Despair! I am afraid that this response demonstrates zero understanding of the issue that I raised. If my point cannot be understood when it is set out in text form I very much doubt that a phone call to Customer Services would get any further, so I will not bother.

Let's put it this way. If working timetables updated over the Easter weekend are available in PDF form by the end of the Tuesday after Easter, all well and good. If they are not there for another week (as happened at Easter last year), not good and I would return to the subject in those circumstances and if necessary request an internal review at that stage.

I hope that is clear enough.

Yours sincerely,

M Clary

Dear FOI,

Oops. My last entry (the one starting "Despair..." relates to my other live FOI request. I have managed to post it in the wrong place.
Please ignore it in the context of this FOI request. Sorry.

Yours sincerely,

M Clary

Dear FOI,
The results of the internal review into this request were due on 10th February but I have received neither a reply nor an indication of a revised date for the review outcome.

So right now I am complaining about a delay to an internal review into why no response was forthcoming to my FOI request.

I trust that the delay means that I will get a constructive response ... eventually. If not, I simply cannot understand the reason for either the current or original delay.

Yours sincerely,

M Clary

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Clary

Thank you for your e-mail regarding your outstanding internal review request. Please accept my apologies for not providing you with an update sooner.

We are still reviewing whether it is possible to disclose any further historic bus schedules. Unfortunately this has meant we are not yet able to reach a conclusion regarding your review.

We will continue to process your request and will provide a response as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Gemma Jacob
FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

[TfL request email]

show quoted sections

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Clary

 

I apologise for the time it has taken to respond to your enquiries about
the availability of non-current working timetables.

 

A decision was taken in 2014 to publish the bus working timetables. In the
financial year 2013/14 TfL responded to approximately 120 FOI requests for
bus working timetables and the burden of answering such requests was
estimated at 0.5 of a full time post within the buses directorate, with
additional resource coming from the TfL central FOI team.

 

At some point in the process of developing the technical capability to
publish the working timetables (which was a long and complex process), the
decision was made to only publish current working timetables. This meant
that the FOI team were refusing requests on the basis that the information
was intended for future publication, when the project was working on
publishing only current requests. I apologise for the confusion that this
misunderstanding has caused.

 

The number of requests for working timetables has dropped significantly
since we started publishing current working timetables. In 2013/14 we
received around 120 requests from more than 50 individuals, the vast
majority being for current working timetables. During 2016/17 we received
a handful of requests for copies of non-current working timetables from
two requesters. We recognise that requesters can see how we are responding
to requests via What Do They Know, and we are now publishing anonymised
responses to requests on our website. These factors may be suppressing
some demand as some requesters will know that the response is likely to be
refused.

 

The issue that we have is that if we receive a request for all, or a large
number of non-current working timetables the cost of extracting them
exceeds the FOI cost limit of £450. We have investigated the possibility
of extracting all of the information as a single export, but again this
exceeds the cost limit. If we ask requesters to limit their request to a
smaller number of working timetables we expect that we will receive
multiple requests from people working in concert, or using pseudonyms,
which would again breach the cost limit. Even if the requests are made by
a few unconnected individuals, the requests might be expected to continue
until the requester was satisfied that they had copies of all available
working timetables. The cumulative burden of responding to these requests,
balanced against the relatively narrow public interest in access to
non-current working timetables, and the steps and expense already incurred
in making current schedules available, would regrettably mean that we have
to consider refusing the requests as vexatious.

 

However, one other potential factor in the reduction in the number of
requests for non-current working timetables is likely to be that the
requester can obtain them from other sources, such as the resources at
[1]http://mjcarchive.www.idnet.com/wt_index...

 

Whilst we are not able to justify the expense of extracting the
non-current working timetables in response to individual requests, there
is a plan to extract the scheduling information as a result of some future
system maintenance. You have referred to the possibility of crowdsourcing
the extraction of this data and this would provide an opportunity for a
site such as mjcarchive to receive a copy of this data on a non-exclusive
basis, in the expectation that mjcarchive would in turn make it available
to others to download from the site. It is expected that a decision on the
maintenance will be taken in the next three months, and we will contact
you again at this time to advise you of the expected schedule.

 

I apologise again for the delay in my response

 

Kind regards

 

Simon Guild

Information Access Manager

Transport for London

 

show quoted sections

 

References

Visible links
1. http://mjcarchive.www.idnet.com/wt_index...
2. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/

Dear Mr Guild,

Thank you for your reply. If the plan outlined in your final paragraph comes to fruition that will be a very satisfactory outcome. I look forward to hearing more in due course.

Yours sincerely,

M Clary

Dear FOI,
As it is now over three months since the helpful response, could I please have an update on progress towards the maintenance programme that should make the working timetables available to the mjcarchive website?

Yours sincerely,

M Clary