Public transport timetable: Wikis


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An 1844 timetable for the Long Island Rail Road
The timetable of the privately run 1940s and 1950s Dundry Pioneer bus service from the village of Dundry to the town of Bristol, England

A public transport timetable is a listing of the times that public transport services arrive and depart specified locations. Timetables are published in various forms from comprehensive books covering an entire system or continent to small cards that list the departure times from a single location.



In the U.S., timetables for bus lines and some mass transit operations are called schedules instead.

In some large cities, such as London and New York, some rapid transit and urban bus services that run to a timetable are so frequent that consulting the timetable is unnecessary. In some cases public transport 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)

The first railway timetable compilation was published in 1839 by George Bradshaw.

In many modern public transport 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 "clockface" timetabling—services departing at regular intervals, at the same times every hour.


A simple bus timetable (2005) found in the Greek island of Astipalea

Tables with services in columns

Many timetables comprise tables 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.

Tables with services in rows

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.

Times listed for a given stop

Train departures list in the form of a yellow poster, common in Europe.

Some timetables, particularly posted on railway stations and bus stops, 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.

Dynamic displays

Dynamic display in the central hall at Utrecht central station, listing the departures for the next hour or so.

Dynamic 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.

Journey planners

Internet-based programs allow one to enter departure and destination locations, as well as date, and departure or arrival time. These journey planners then give suitable departure times, with details for the whole journey. These may comprise more than one service or mode. For an example, see below "Europe".

This board in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, shows both times and prices of journeys. Note that it is not dynamic; the times and prices are fixed to the board.

Timetables currently published in the world


  • 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.

  • 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 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 by English and Hindi.


Time table display using a stem-and-leaf layout at Minato Mirai train station in Yokohama, Japan. It is a widespread design pattern in the country.

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.[1]

In 2010, two 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 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.[2]

There is also a searchable online timetable, covering all forms of transport in Japan, available at

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.[3] (German version), [4] (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 website[5] and CD ROM.


  • Pozzorario generale

It is a handy timetable book and covers most trains in Italy.


  • Offizielles Kursbuch Schweiz/Indicateur Officiel de la Suisse

A large annual publication consisting of railway, bus, ferry and aerial tramway (cablecar) timetables.

United Kingdom

  • GB Rail Timetable

This is a timetable published by The Stationery Office (the official UK Government publishers), and contains information published, according to its title page, "with permission of Network Rail and obtained under licence from ATOC" (the Association of Train Operating Companies). It closely resembles Network Rail's former timetable book which ceased publication in 2007. Network Rail currently provides PDF timetable files on its website.[6] The GB Rail Timetable appears twice per year, in May and December.



The timetable book Spoorboekje is published yearly in December, and costs €5,50. It covers all operators of rail transport in the Netherlands, except those of heritage railways; it gives the departure times (and sometimes arrival times), but not the tracks. For international trains to and from the Netherlands, for the data for the parts abroad only a summary is given.

It provides tables with services in columns (see above), arranged by timetable number and direction (a and b). A train route can involve multiple timetable numbers; in addition to providing full information (all stations and all trains) for the railway stretch belonging to the timetable number, tables often provide selected information about the continuation of trains into stretches of other timetable numbers.

For train services which do not operate daily throughout the year there are indications for a few common restrictions such as "weekdays only" and "not on Sundays", and footnotes for other limitations.


Timetable booklets are published yearly. They come with a separate map, and cost money. Each covers one region of one bus company. They are arranged similarly to the spoorboekje, except that for each line and direction there are three separate tables: for Monday-Friday, for Saturday, and for Sunday. Also, they show the times for selected stops only.

In addition or instead, leaflets or smaller booklets with the timetable of a single line or a few lines are available free of charge.

Recent trends

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, for example, publishes timetables only for the RER and Transilien commuter rail services that operate in the outskirts of Paris; the rest of the timetables must be accessed indirectly by means of a search engine.


Timetables are published as books, booklets, folded or plain cards or paper, posters, on-line in HTML, pdf, and other formats, printed, hand-written on posters or blackboards, back-lit displays, and SMS messages [7].

Thomas Cook Publishing 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 services in the rest of the world. [8]


  1. ^ Aoki, E. et al A History of Japanese Railways 1872-1999. Tokyo: East Japan Railway Culture Foundation, 2000.
  2. ^ 時刻表1000号物語 ISBN: 978-4533075254
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ For an example of an SMS timetable, see Connex Melbourne's SMS timetable service
  8. ^ According to the Thomas Cook web-site (retrieved 6 March 2007)

See also


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