Thursday, November 25, 2004

Buses to go hi-tech with digital boards

Buses to go hi-tech with digital boards

Times of India


Bangalore: The state’s over 16,000 buses are going hep and high-tech. Karnataka government is planning to introduce digital multi-language destination displays in BMTC and KSRTC buses.

The display digitising process will happen in many phases. The eightmonth long first phase will cover over 1000 Parisara Vahini buses (Euro compliant). However, the rest of the fleet will get the facility within a couple of years, as and when a new bus is introduced on the road. BMTC alone scraps over 400 buses a year.

The bright light emission red\green\yellow boards will flash destinations in English and Kannada at an interval of every 30 seconds. In addition to the departure and destination points, the boards will also mention the name of key roads or junctions the bus passes through.

BMTC managing director Upendra Tripathy told The Times of India that all BMTC buses will fall in line with buses in Europe, the US, China and South East Asia, as far as technological advancements are concerned.

“Such additional attractions will make our buses more popular and commuter-friendly. In fact, we have already been working on upgrading engines, using less sulphur fuel and introducing comfort-seats. We will be able to recover the investment, with more and more people commuting in our buses.’’ BMTC has earmarked Rs 60 crore towards building infrastructure and upgrading its rolling stock.

To start with, BMTC will introduce digital destination display boards in 25 of its buses on a pilot basis. The company has over 4,000 buses while KSRTC has another 12,000 buses.

According to K.R. Srinivasan, CMD of city-based iQ infotech, a company that designs and manufactures such multi-language digital destination display boards, the company is currently talking to public transport departments of 25 state governments in the country. Across the country, there are over 4,00,000 buses in the public sector. The company is also talking to Indian Railways, and has already designed these boards in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. All these will be multi-lingual with English being the common language. Priced in the range of Rs 15,000-20,000, these devices offer clear visibility over 30 meters.

At a later point, Karnataka might introduce such display boards at bus depots and at departure and arrival platforms.

Soon, iQ Infotech hopes to introduce an advanced version of a digital display board which can double up as an advertisement display screen. The company expects to rake in revenues of Rs 50 crore by selling these utility digital devices, Srinivasan said.

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