Wednesday, July 15, 2009


BMTC buses to have voice-enabled destination boards that announce the various stops in Kannada, English and Hindi

How far is my stop? How long will it take to reach it? Will you let me know when it comes?” These are a few questions that thousands of commuters ask bus conductors in Bangalore everyday. But they won’t be doing it in future.
The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is all set to install voice-enabled internal destination boards inside the buses. In other words, the passengers will get to know the name of the approaching stop without shooting questions to either the conductor or the fellow passengers. The announcements will be made in Kannada, English, and Hindi — completely in tune with the city’s cosmopolitan culture. This apart, each bus will have an electronic display board inside with scrolls alerting the passengers about the next bus stop.
At present, a similar facility is in BMTC’s Volvo fleet: Conductors use the microphone to make announcements. But with everything left to the discretion of the conductor or the driver, the microphones have begun to gather dust in these buses. However, announcements will be made automatically under the new system, a BMTC official told Bangalore Mirror.
On the working of the technology, the official said these boards will work with the help of the Global Positioning System (GPS), through which the movement of a bus can tracked.
To start with, this facility will be installed in 1,000 buses, including semi-low floor and air-conditioned buses, being procured by the BMTC in accordance with the specifications listed in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) project. BMTC Managing Director Syed Zameer Pasha said: “We are doing it for the benefit of passengers. We will extend it to other buses in a phased manner.”
At present, BMTC has around 5,300 buses and these do a total of 73,870 trips per day. A total of 11.95 lakh kms are covered and 40 lakh passengers are ferried everyday.
As a majority of the commuters are either new to the city or exploring new areas, they bombard the conductors and other passengers with questions. At times, the conductors lose their cool while answering the same question from the same passenger. The automatic announcement will ease the situation for everyone, another official said.
Apart from the voice enabled destination board inside the bus, the newly procured semi low floor and air-conditioned buses will have three destination boards on the exterior.The board will display the routes in three languages —- Kannada, English and Hindi. An official of the BMTC said: “The companies which are supplying buses under JNNURM project have already delivered over 50 buses including Volvo buses. In all these buses, we are going to place these multi-language destination boards. Multi-language boards will help Kannadigas, North Indians living in the city and foreigners who visit the city”.


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