Digital boards at bus stops for smarter travel

Small LED boards flash information on the public transport bus approaching at a stand. The destination and the estimated time of arrival of the bus runs on the scroll as two commuters discuss their travel plan and wait patiently, before boarding a bus a few minutes later.

This was a scene at Safdarjung Airport bus stand where Metro station-style passenger information system (PIS) boards have been set up, giving advance information on the approaching buses, their destination and time of arrival.

“Over 200 bus queue shelters already have the panels, each of which costs between Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000,” said Smita John, spokesperson for Delhi Integrated Multi-modal Transit System (DIMTS).

For commuters, the PIS is a big boon. Vikramjeet Singh Rakhroy, a media consultant, said: “The information helps me plan my trip. If I know that a bus, heading for my destination, is approaching I do not take a hasty decision of hiring an auto or catching other bus.”

The PIS relies on complex mathematical equations, maps and GPS instruments installed in a bus to calculate the time it will take to reach a particular bus queue shelter, said John. “Currently, only information related to the orange cluster buses, run by private operators, is available in the PIS,” she said, adding the facility may soon be extended to more bus queue shelters.

There are over 1,000 bus stands in Delhi and 1,554 orange cluster buses have got GPS facility, while 3,956 Delhi Transport Corporation buses are equipped with the GPS kits.

However, the gains from the commuter-friendly initiative of the Delhi government have been partly reduced due to non-integration of DTC buses with the PIS system.

DTC spokesman R S Minhas said, “The GPS facility in our buses is yet to stabilise. Only after that, the PIS would reflect DTC bus information,” he said.

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