School Tripper and Academic Routes that are open to the public have a few special considerations when adding them to GTFS.
Should I Add School Service to GTFS?
If it is open to the general public, yes! The more information about services available to riders, the more likely they are to choose transit over other forms of transportation. Because school and academic services generally have specific hours of service, and only operate when school is in session, there are additional considerations that must be made when adding these Trips to GTFS.
Trips in Existing Routes
If there are special Trips in an otherwise year-round Route that service schools only when school is in session (such as a special 7:00am Trip that makes an additional stop at the high school,) there is no need to create a separate Route. A separate Stop Pattern that includes the high school is sufficient.
The Trips serviced by that Stop Pattern will then be assigned to a separate Calendar that only operates when school is in session. See below.
School Calendars are separate from year-round Calendars because their Service Periods only cover when school is in session. As such, these Service Periods need to be updated regularly to account for new academic years and breaks in service, such as spring break.
Trips When School Not in Session
If there are Routes and/or Trips that run when school is not in session, such as a 7:00am Trip that would normally service the high school now skipping the high school, an additional Calendar is needed for all Service Periods in-between the school Calendar's Service Periods.
Typically, this means the GTFS contains three calendars:
- Year Round (regular service regardless of school)
- School Year (only when school is in session)
- Non-School Year (only when school is not in session)
If the GTFS contains Blocks, any additional vehicles that cover school service need to have Blocks created and assigned to those Trips.