FOI request detail

Old Bus WTTs

Request ID: FOI-2841-1718
Date published: 05 February 2018

You asked

During the time, that FOI stopped emailing out the bus WTTs due to them being planned to put on the now available online feature of the TFL site, while that was on going all requests for bus WTTs had this sentence in them " In Lee Hill's response of 14 March 2014 he says "I can confirm that the intention to publish covers both current and former bus schedules (where held). " This meant that the FOI team were refusing requests on the basis that the information was intended for future publication, when the project was working on publishing only current requests. As yet, nothing non-current has appeared on the website as stated in my responses giving during that time. On the other hand, nor has any indication been given that the position on such material has changed from that stated in the FOI responses above. I am therefore requesting that TfL should clarify its position on this or could the public start allowing for these under FOI requests which are with in the cost limit of £450? Can you also, prove evidence to this point outlined in previous replies from your self . "If we ask requesters to limit their request to a smaller number of working timetables we expect that we will receive multiple requests from people working in concert, or using pseudonyms, which would again breach the cost limit. Even if the requests are made by a few unconnected individuals, the requests might be expected to continue until the requester was satisfied that they had copies of all available working timetables. " The fact is that TFL is a publicly run organisation, and as under the FOI act, you have to provide any information held that requester request on, and a reply was made to my self from you back in 2013 that old WTTs date back on the system to 2006. Therefore since this matter has not been resolved, may I please make a small request for bus WTTs for routes: All WTTs held for route 195 under Ealing Community Transport (ECT) All WTTs held for route 435 Under First All WTTs held for route 805 Under Bhart All WTTs held for route 293 Under Quality Line (Epsom Coaches) All WTTs held for routes 383/606 Under Sullivan Buses All WTTs held for route E6 Under Travel London.

We answered

TfL Ref: 2841-1718

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 8 January 2017 asking for bus Working Time Tables (WTTs).

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can confirm we do hold the information you require.  You asked for bus WTTs for routes: All WTTs held for route 195 under Ealing Community Transport (ECT); All WTTs held for route 435 Under First; All WTTs held for route 805 Under Bhart; All WTTs held for route 293 Under Quality Line (Epsom Coaches); All WTTs held for routes 383/606 Under Sullivan Buses; All WTTs held for route  E6 Under Travel London.

However, we are refusing your request under section 14(1) of the Act.  We consider that providing the requested information would place an unreasonable burden on us. Our principal duty is to provide an effective transport service for London and we consider that answering this request would represent a disproportionate effort. It would be a significant distraction from our work managing the TfL network, requiring re-allocation of already limited resources and placing an unacceptable burden on a small number of personnel. We do wish to clarify that whilst we consider that your request falls under section 14(1) of the FOI Act, this does not reflect a conclusion that it has been your intention to deliberately place an undue burden on our resources.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) guidance states that one of the indicators of a request which may fall under section 14(1) is that it “appears to be part of a completely random approach, lacks any clear focus, or seems to have been solely designed for the purpose of ‘fishing’ for information without any idea of what might be revealed.”

The ICO guidance provides the following examples of a ‘fishing expedition’ request which may fall under section 14(1) if it:

- Imposes a burden by obliging the authority to sift through a substantial volume of information to isolate and extract the relevant details;

- Encompasses information which is only of limited value because of the wide scope of the request;

- Creates a burden by requiring the authority to spend a considerable amount of time considering any exemptions and redactions.

Our view is that all three of these examples apply in this instance. Your request covers all current and old Working Time Tables for seven bus routes over a number of years. Searching through our records to locate and extract them would be a significant task, and the out of date timetables would not hold any current transport-user value. We consider the burden of retrieving, reviewing and redacting any personal data would be disproportionate to the benefit of providing the  timetables. Therefore, due to the wide and unfocused scope of your request, we are refusing it under s.14 of the FOI Act. If you would like to re-submit a more focused, specific request then we will, of course, consider it. For example, a request for information on a particular, specific current bus route.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Sara Thomas

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

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