App to tell arrival time of DTC bus at stops

App to tell arrival time of DTC bus at stops

Commuters can now plan their journey

App to tell arrival time of DTC bus at stops

An app-based system on expected arrival time of public transport buses at bus stops would soon replace the failed and cost-intensive passenger information system (PIS) which never took off in a full fledged manner in the central parts of the city.

Transport Minister Gopal Rai has signalled that smartphone users or computer users will be able to check the time of arrival of a bus on their route and plan their journey accordingly.

The earlier PIS experiment involved installation of LED boards flashing expected time of public transport buses at the bus stop.

“It faced problems due to challenges in fitting GPS units on buses. The new version of PIS may not face similar problems as the new fleet of 4,000 buses joining public transport fleet this year would come with in-built GPS facility,” said an official.

At present, nearly 3,000 LED boards, installed at bus stops, are functioning in New Delhi area only and giving arrival time of just the orange cluster buses. The system is working for cluster buses because only these buses have functional GPS units and the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses either do not have GPS unit or are not linked to a control room for feeding information to PIS boards.

Rai said the new app-based PIS shall bring even DTC buses on the same platform as cluster buses, thus, helping commuters access bus arrival time – quite like the expected time of metro trains flashed on LED boards in Metro stations.

The transport minister also indicated that by next month all the DTC buses would start electronic ticketing – enabling passengers to use DTC smart card and Metro smart card to pay fares. “A trial run of the e-ticketing system is on in 200 DTC buses while the cluster buses already have the hand-held machines needed for cashless ticketing,” he added, saying cash tickets would also be issued.

The transport department is hoping that the addition of 1,000 cluster buses along with another 1,000 app-based premium buses in the coming months would make people consider using public transport more often.

An official said an ad campaign is also being considered to project public transport as a good option for losing weight.

“The campaign would target people who can’t find time for a daily workout. They may be educated that they can lose weight by giving up cars and using public transport,” said an official, adding that the proposal is still at an early stage.

He cited the case of a study in Britain which found that taking public transportation is good for health. The study said that commuting via walking, cycling or riding public vehicles, instead of driving a car, may produce more health benefits linked to the so-called “incidental” physical activity that people exert while out on the road, the official said.

To make the metro more attractive for commuters, the Delhi government has also constituted a committee to study and suggest measures for enhancing the capacity utilisation of metro, on the lines of practices followed in other global cites. The option of pre-booked seats in luxury public transport buses could wean them away from personal vehicles, said an official.