The MERITS Timetable Expert Group (TTEG) meeting was hosted from 26 – 27 September 2019 by UIC in Paris.
The TTEG is the community of Railway Undertakings that publishes consolidated timetables, services and station data (MERITS data) to be used by railway undertakings in information systems to support journey planners and booking activities.
20 participants representing 12 railway companies were present including two representatives from EURAIL.
UIC was represented by Fabrice Setta, Senior Advisor for Passenger Transport.
Fabrice Setta welcomed the participants and detailed the agenda for the two half-day meetings.
Angelina Rotolo-Piazza (DB Vertrieb, as data manager) reported on the Merits data management activity and proposed improvements to enhance the quality of MERITS. Issues concerning quality of data were discussed, they encouraged members to review their warnings and errors within the import and integration reports.
Fabrice Setta gave details of the version 4.12 functionalities of the MERITS programme that will be implemented in October 2019 and provided a description of the forthcoming new change requests planned for the next version of the MERITS tool.
Robert Jurisch from DB presented proposals to improve the data quality in MERITS products. He proposed to harmonise the data deliveries and to define the greatest common “denominator”. Differences are possible but should be discussed and at least described in an instruction leaflet.
Fabrice Setta presented the outcomes of the MSB meetings concerning the MERITS new model. He gave the latest status of the commercialisation of the MERITS data to third party users and the current status of the signature of the Data Provider Agreements. More information about the commercialisation of the MERITS data can be found here: https://uic.org/merits-database and the MERITS products can be purchased here: https://www.shop-etf.com/
Hakon Fjelstad (Entur) gave a detailed presentation of timetable organisation in Norway. Entur AS is a government-owned transportation company in Norway. Owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications, it was created to offer sales and ticket solutions for the railways and travel planner for public transport throughout Norway. Entur is responsible for Norway timetable data publication to MERITS.
Martin Claassen (HaCon) provided a quick overview of the MERITS tools version.
Finally, Fabrice Setta UIC highlighted two MERITS developments:
- GTFS: before the end of the year MERITS integrated data will be available in GTFS format in addition to the EDIFACT format. It will expand the range of available MERITS formats, attract more customers, facilitate marketing communication campaigns in the transport sector for Door2Door initiatives and the European Commission.
- Real time data: a SWOT analysis was presented as a first approach to tackle the real time capabilities in the MERITS context. The study will continue in order to gather all elements requested to support the members’ decision to go for real time.
The TTEG was an opportunity for the participants to hold a brainstorming session on the quality of MERITS data and its forthcoming evolutions.
The next meeting will be held from 19 – 20 March 2020 in Copenhagen at the kind invitation of DSB.