Public transport timetable
A public transport timetable (also timetable and North American English
North American English
North American English is the variety of the English language of North America, including that of the United States and Canada. Because of their shared histories and the similarities between the pronunciation, vocabulary and accent of American English and Canadian English, the two spoken languages...

 schedule) is a representation of public transport information to assist a passenger with planning a trip using public transport
Public transport
Public transport is a shared passenger transportation service which is available for use by the general public, as distinct from modes such as taxicab, car pooling or hired buses which are not shared by strangers without private arrangement.Public transport modes include buses, trolleybuses, trams...

. A timetable details when vehicle will arrive and depart specified locations and may be organised for by route or for a particular stop. Traditionally this information was provided in printed form, but is now commonly available in a variety or electronic formats. journey planners
Intermodal Journey Planner
An Intermodal Journey Planner , or Trip Planner is computer system which can provide a traveller with an itinerary for an intermodal passenger transport journey. The system can provide timetable, routing and other travel information...

 have to some extent replaced traditional timetable books in many places recently.


The first railway timetable compilation of railway services in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 was produced in 1839 by George Bradshaw
George Bradshaw
George Bradshaw was an English cartographer, printer and publisher. He is best known for developing the most successful and longest published series of combined railway timetables.-Biography:...

. Greater speeds and the need for increased accuracy led to the introduction of standard Railway time
Railway time
Railway time was the name given to the standardised time arrangement first applied by the Great Western Railway in England in November 1840. This was the first recorded occasion when a number of different local times were synchronised and a single standard time applied...

 for the Great Western Railway
Great Western Railway
The Great Western Railway was a British railway company that linked London with the south-west and west of England and most of Wales. It was founded in 1833, received its enabling Act of Parliament in 1835 and ran its first trains in 1838...

 timetables in 1840 when all their trains were scheduled to London time or Greenwich Mean Time
Greenwich Mean Time
Greenwich Mean Time is a term originally referring to mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. It is arguably the same as Coordinated Universal Time and when this is viewed as a time zone the name Greenwich Mean Time is especially used by bodies connected with the United...

 (GMT) which replaced Solar time
Solar time
Solar time is a reckoning of the passage of time based on the Sun's position in the sky. The fundamental unit of solar time is the day. Two types of solar time are apparent solar time and mean solar time .-Introduction:...

. Until railway was introduced local times for London, Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

, Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

 and Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 could differ by as much as 16 to 20 minutes; in India and North America these differences could be sixty minutes or more.

Thomas Cook Publishing
Thomas Cook Group
Thomas Cook Group plc is a travel company created on 19 June, 2007 by the merger of Thomas Cook AG and MyTravel Group plc. At flotation on the London Stock Exchange 52% of the shares in the new company were held by the German mail order and department store corporation Arcandor and 48% owned by...

 has published timetable books showing the schedules of major European railway services since 1873 (appearing monthly since 1883) and also produces a similar bi-monthly volume covering public transport
Public transport
Public transport is a shared passenger transportation service which is available for use by the general public, as distinct from modes such as taxicab, car pooling or hired buses which are not shared by strangers without private arrangement.Public transport modes include buses, trolleybuses, trams...

 services in the rest of the world.


One can distinguish between a timetable produced dynamically, on request, for a particular journey on a particular day around a particular time (see journey planner
Journey Planner
A journey planner is a specialised electronic search engine used to find the best journey between two points by some means of transport. Journey planners have been widely used in the travel industry since the 1970s by booking agents accessed through a user interface on a computer terminal, and to...

, below), and a timetable that gives an overview of all services during the period for which the transport company has planned its services, for example, for a year. The latter is static for this period, or shorter in the case of intermediate changes. It can take the form of a book, leaflet, billboard, or a (set of) computer file(s). It makes it much easier to find out, for example, whether a transport service at a particular time is offered every day at that time, and if not, on which days; with a journey planner one may have to check every day of the year separately for this.

Matrix format

Many timetables comprise table
Table (information)
A table is a means of arranging data in rows and columns.Production % of goalNorth 4087102%South 4093110% The use of tables is pervasive throughout all communication, research and data analysis. Tables appear in print media, handwritten notes, computer software, architectural...

s with services shown in columns of a table, and stations or stops on the rows of the table. There will generally be tables for each direction, and often separate (pairs of) tables for weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Generally the times for each station or stop will be the departure time, except for the last stop of the service which will be the arrival time. At some stops if the service stops for some time, both arrival and departure times might be shown on consecutive rows. As well as the times, the columns might include other information, often at the top of the columns, such as day(s) of operation, availability of on-board facilities such as refreshments, and a service number. Timetables with services arranged in rows of tables and stops or stations in columns are less common but otherwise similar to timetables with services in columns.

Stop-specific displays

Some timetables, particularly posted on railway stations
Train station
A train station, also called a railroad station or railway station and often shortened to just station,"Station" is commonly understood to mean "train station" unless otherwise qualified. This is evident from dictionary entries e.g...

 and bus stop
Bus stop
A bus stop is a designated place where buses stop for passengers to board or leave a bus. These are normally positioned on the highway and are distinct from off-highway facilities such as bus stations. The construction of bus stops tends to reflect the level of usage...

s, list times that services depart that location, sometimes along with other information such as destinations and stopping conditions. As with other forms, there may be separate lists for different days of the week. There may be a separate list for each line/direction (this applies e.g. for train departures in the Netherlands), or a combined chronological list (as in the picture). In mainland Europe train departures are listed on a yellow poster, and arrivals on a white poster. These posters are placed at entrances to stations and on platforms.

Electronic displays

Dynamic electronic displays in stations may be at a central place and list the next few departures for each line, or all departures for the next hour. Displays on platforms just show the next departure (or perhaps the next few) from that platform.


Timetables are published as books, booklets, folded or plain cards or paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

, poster
A poster is any piece of printed paper designed to be attached to a wall or vertical surface. Typically posters include both textual and graphic elements, although a poster may be either wholly graphical or wholly text. Posters are designed to be both eye-catching and informative. Posters may be...

s, on-line in HTML
HyperText Markup Language is the predominant markup language for web pages. HTML elements are the basic building-blocks of webpages....

, pdf
Portable Document Format
Portable Document Format is an open standard for document exchange. This file format, created by Adobe Systems in 1993, is used for representing documents in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems....

, and other formats, printed, hand-written on posters or blackboard
A chalkboard or blackboard is a reusable writing surface on which text or drawings are made with sticks of calcium sulfate or calcium carbonate, known, when used for this purpose, as chalk. Chalkboards were originally made of smooth, thin sheets of black or dark grey slate stone...

s, back-lit displays, and SMS
Short message service
Short Message Service is a text messaging service component of phone, web, or mobile communication systems, using standardized communications protocols that allow the exchange of short text messages between fixed line or mobile phone devices...


Due to the development of the internet and electronic memory systems, conventional thick paper timetables are gradually being replaced by website searching or CD-ROM style timetables and the publishing of comprehensive printed timetables is generally decreasing. France's SNCF
The SNCF , is France's national state-owned railway company. SNCF operates the country's national rail services, including the TGV, France's high-speed rail network...

, for example, publishes timetables only for the RER
The RER is a rapid transit system in France serving Paris and its suburbs. The RER is an integration of a modern city-centre underground rail and a pre-existing set of commuter rail lines. It has several connections with the Paris Métro within the city of Paris. Within the city, the RER...

 and Transilien
The Transilien is the brand name for suburban railway services of the SNCF-owned railway network operating within the Île-de-France région...

 commuter rail services that operate in the outskirts of Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

; the rest of the timetables must be accessed indirectly by means of a search engine.


In many modern public transport
Public transport
Public transport is a shared passenger transportation service which is available for use by the general public, as distinct from modes such as taxicab, car pooling or hired buses which are not shared by strangers without private arrangement.Public transport modes include buses, trolleybuses, trams...

 systems, timetables and rostering are designed by computer, with the operators specifying operating span, minimum frequencies, route length/time and other such factors. Design of the schedule may also aim to keep times memorable for customers, through the use of clock-face scheduling
Clock-face scheduling
A clock-face schedule is a timetable, where public means of transport run in consistent intervals. The number of departures per time is the frequency of the service...

 — services departing at regular intervals, at the same times every hour.

Headway services

In some large cities, such as London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 and New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, some rapid transit
Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

 and urban bus services that run to a timetable are so frequent that consulting the timetable is unnecessary. In some cases public transport
Public transport
Public transport is a shared passenger transportation service which is available for use by the general public, as distinct from modes such as taxicab, car pooling or hired buses which are not shared by strangers without private arrangement.Public transport modes include buses, trolleybuses, trams...

 operators do not even publish public timetables for the times of day that their services are very frequent, or they may simply state "services run every 3–5 minutes" (or words to that effect)


  • Thomas Cook European Timetable

A monthly timetable book of major trains, some bus and ferry services in Europe.
  • Thomas Cook Overseas Timetable

A bi-monthly timetable book of major trains, and some bus and ferry services outside Europe - no longer published after December 2010.
  • OAG Flight Guide

A monthly air timetable book published by OAG (Official Airline Guide), and covers all airlines and airports in the world.

United States

  • Amtrak System Timetable

The official timetable book of Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

 and published twice a year.


  • China Railway Passenger Train Timetable (全国铁路旅客列车时刻表)
  • China Railway Passenger Express Train Timetable(全国铁路旅客快车时刻表)

These handy books are published twice a year by China Railway Publishing in Chinese. The former timetable includes all trains, and the latter one includes fast express trains only.


  • Trains at a Glance

It is a timetable book for travellers published once a year in English and Hindi.


The first regularly published timetable appeared in 1894, published by a private company. By the time of the nationalization of Japanese railways in 1906, three competing timetables were being published and it was decided that only one official timetable should be offered to the public. Five thousand copies of the first official timetable were published in January 1915.

In 2010, two printed national timetables were available: the Japan Tourist Bureau (JTB) Timetable (JTB時刻表) and the Japan Railways (JR) Timetable (JR時刻表). These thick books - the February 2009 edition of the JTB timetable, for example, contains 1152 pages - are published every month and cover all stations and trains of JR and private railways, as well as long distance bus, ferry and air services in Japan. For frequent JR urban lines, subway trains, private railways and urban buses, only summary timetables are shown. In 2009, a book was published to mark the 1000th edition of the JTB timetable, containing reproductions of all one thousand covers, selected timetables and maps, and articles on the way the timetable is produced.

There is also many searchable online timetables, covering all forms of transport in Japan, for example Timetables for PDA's and PC's are also produced.

South Korea

  • Tourism Transport Timetable (월간 관광교통 시각표)

This handy timetable book is published every month and covers all trains, highway bus, ferry and domestic air services.


The most comprehensive Europe-wide timetable information is that provided by the electronic timetable search engine of Deutsche Bahn
Deutsche Bahn
Deutsche Bahn AG is the German national railway company, a private joint stock company . Headquartered in Berlin, it came into existence in 1994 as the successor to the former state railways of Germany, the Deutsche Bundesbahn of West Germany and the Deutsche Reichsbahn of East Germany...

. (German version), (English version). Information is also available in Danish, Dutch, French, Italian, Polish, Spanish and Turkish.


  • Ihr Reiseplan

This is a free timetable leaflet distributed in express train and has information about the departure, arrival time of the train and also connecting services.
For many years the “Kursbuch Gesamtausgabe” ("complete timetable"), a very thick timetable book was published but its contents are now available on the Deutsche Bahn
Deutsche Bahn
Deutsche Bahn AG is the German national railway company, a private joint stock company . Headquartered in Berlin, it came into existence in 1994 as the successor to the former state railways of Germany, the Deutsche Bundesbahn of West Germany and the Deutsche Reichsbahn of East Germany...

 website and CD ROM.


  • Offizielles Kursbuch Schweiz/Indicateur Officiel de la Suisse

A large annual publication consisting of railway, bus, ferry and aerial tramway
Aerial tramway
An aerial tramway , cable car , ropeway or aerial tram is a type of aerial lift which uses one or two stationary ropes for support while a third moving rope provides propulsion...

 (cablecar) timetables.

United Kingdom

  • GB Rail Timetable

This is a timetable published by The Stationery Office
The Stationery Office
The Stationery Office is a British publishing company that was created in 1996 when the publishing arm of Her Majesty's Stationery Office was privatised. TSO is the official publisher and the distributor for legislation, command and house papers, select committee reports, Hansard, and the London,...

 (the official UK Government publishers), and contains information published, according to its title page, "with permission of Network Rail
Network Rail
Network Rail is the government-created owner and operator of most of the rail infrastructure in Great Britain .; it is not responsible for railway infrastructure in Northern Ireland...

 and obtained under licence from ATOC" (the Association of Train Operating Companies
Association of Train Operating Companies
The Association of Train Operating Companies is a body which represents 24 train operating companies that provide passenger railway services on the privatised British railway system. It owns the National Rail brand. The Association is an unincorporated association owned by its members...

). It closely resembles Network Rail's former timetable book which ceased publication in 2007. Network Rail currently provides PDF timetable files on its website.

The GB Rail Timetable appears twice per year:
  • In May titled GB Rail Timetable Summer Edition lasting from May to December - Also includes Autumn schedules
  • In December titled GB Rail Timetable Winter Edition lasting from December to May - Also includes Spring schedules


See Timetables for the Netherlands.

See also

  • Public transport bus service
    Public transport bus service
    Bus services play a major role in the provision of public transport. These services can take many forms, varying in distance covered and types of vehicle used, and can operate with fixed or flexible routes and schedules...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.