Transport Direct – Connecting People to Places

I was alerted to this site by my friend and colleague Dot Walker. It claims to give “information for door-to-door travel for both public transport and car journeys around Britain. Our aim is to provide you with comprehensive, easy-to-use travel information to help you plan your journeys effectively and efficiently.” They work with both public and private travel operators and local/national government. It is operated by a consortium led by Atos Origin. The non-profit service is funded by the UK Department for Transport, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Scottish Executive.

I have seen many of these types of services before and most of them have been dire. They are usually OK as far as trains and flights are concerned but when you get down to the really local level where you need to take buses or trams they generally fail. I decided to test it out on some real stinkers. My husband and I have been walking the “Thames Path”. This is a route of foot and tow paths that follow the River Thames from its source near Kemble to the Thames Barrier at Woolwich. We use public transport to get to and from the various staging posts, and we sometimes need to use some weird and wonderful combinations of services to do it. Until now we have had to work out the transport routes ourselves, so I thought this would be a good test of the door-to-door option.

Transport Direct came up trumps every time: Ashton Keynes, Cricklade, Wallingford – even Castle Eaton. And it sometimes came up with better, alternative routes that we had never considered. The Maps section shows each stage of the journey and form of transport.

On tickets/cost it was not so comprehensive. It was able to give fare options for trains but not always for the buses. That is a minor quibble, though. We just need to know that if we break off early on our walk, or decide to go a bit further, that there is a way home other than phoning for a taxi to rescue us. And you can access the service from your PDA or mobile. Brilliant!