Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Riding the infoway to airport

Riding the infoway to airport
Bangalore, June 22, DHNS:

Rides on Volvo buses plying to Bangalore International Airport is all set to rock, if the government’s promise of installing individual TV sets and Internet facility in the vehicles materialises.

All that the commuters need to do is sit back and turn on the monitor behind the seats in front of them.

They could watch music programmes, surf Internet and get updated on the arrival and departure of flights at the airport. And the best part is, the facilities come free; the commuters will not have to pay anything more than the ticket fare. They, however, will have to watch the ads of the government’s private partners who will be funding the facilities.

Transport Minister R Ashok said on Tuesday that the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) had already conducted a trial run of these facilities and had got a good response. The Corporation was now considering extending the facility to all Volvo buses, the minister said. But the officials at the BMTC seemed unaware of the transport ministry’s plans to pep up Volvo ride.

Difficulties ahead

“As of now, providing television sets and Internet is difficult,” a top official said. The buses should have WiFi facility for commuters to be able to surf the Net. And so far, “nothing has been worked in this regard,” he said.

Yet it was possible to bring about changes to be able to screen entertainment and informative programmes, he said. “We have two LCD panels (19 inches) each in all buses. We have plans to make use of the panels for display of the programmes,” he said.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is in the offing between the BMTC and the South-Western Railways to introduce free mini bus services between the city railway station and the BMTC bus stand.

Passengers now have to rely on auto services to get to the bus stand. They are charged Rs 14, the minimum fare, for the half a kilometre distance between the bus stand and the railway station.

But within a week’s time, three mini buses would ply between the two stops from 5 am to 10 pm every day. The Corporation is also planning to launch bus services from Yeshwanthpur and Cantonment railway stations to different destinations in the city and a fleet of 40 buses will be on service.

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