Friday, February 19, 2010

ON THE RADAR

ON THE RADAR
Conductors To Carry Device Which Conveys Info On Tickets, Passes And Stops To Control Room
Prashanth G N | TNN

Bangalore: Monitoring bus trips to ensure they keep to schedules is welcome, what with hundreds of school and officegoing passengers depending on them. Now, BMTC’s Volvo fleet, which have brought a refreshing change in the city’s public transport, will come under watch through conductors themselves, via a hitech mobile device.
The Volvos are being watched more closely to ensure no trips or stops on trips are missed, and that greater confidence is created in their services among travellers.
A pilot project is already on. Volvo conductors on some trips have been provided with the mobile device that achieves multiple objectives — generating ticket for passengers, reading futuristic smart cards, reading bus passes which may come in the form of cards as well as generating and communicating information about the bus to the BMTC control room.
CONTROL ROOM KEEPS TABS
Conductors will have to wear the device around the neck with the help of a strap, and it will be on them from the time they get onto the bus to the time they conclude their trips. Information about the bus reaches the control room the moment the device is switched on. And it can be switched on only by a designated conductor, who has to wirelessly swipe a card on its screen, failing which it does not function.
“We have an ID card specially made for these devices. It has a chip that enables it to connect with this hand-held device. We run the ID card on the screen and it begins to work. This means any other conductor cannot open the ticketing device, and the designated conductor cannot miss work because it is ID-dependent,” a conductor who did not want to be named, said.
“Once on, the information sent to the control room is continuous. It communicates the location of the bus, the route, distance, time taken to travel, stops at designated bus stops and overall time taken by Volvos over an entire day to cover the scheduled number of trips,” another conductor pointed out.
NO MORE WHEELING-DEALING
BMTC officials said the device carries inbuilt GPRS technology that is wireless. “Since the pilot project is on, we have not supplied the equipment to all conductors from all Volvo depots. But we have begun some trips with the device to see how it functions. It will be of great benefit to BMTC as it will stop potential pilferage of vast amounts received everyday. It will stop all jugglery, as information will be stored in the device, making clear all transactions,” official sources said.
“The device also helps monitor Volvo services as a whole. We want to make the service as people-friendly as possible. The device will be able to read smart cards and bus passes in card form, which we plan to introduce in future. To that extent, it will make the organisation more efficient,” sources added.
POSITIVE TREND
Passengers are more than happy if the system works well for them. Pradeep G, a frequent Volvo traveller, points out: “If I can be certain that a Volvo will come to my bus stop at 1.15 pm, five minutes here and there, I’d be more than happy to commute everyday by bus, whose timings are not yet 100% precise. If they are using the information to fine-tune timings, it would be very friendly for passengers. The service in general is good.” Another passenger, Nivedita V, who travels towards Marathalli via Majestic, says: “At Majestic, there are many Volvos. We need to be definite about their timings when you want to board buses somewhere in the middle — say at Mayo Hall. If I expect the bus around 3.30 pm, can I hope it will reach at least by 3.40 pm, making allowance for traffic? If this accuracy can be achieved, the new device would have served its purpose.”
SMART SERVICE
Number of Volvo services in city, including Vayu Vajra (BIA service): 387 Plan to have conductors carry hitech mobile device that will help monitor bus services in totality Mobile is part of ‘Intelligent Transport’ programme

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