The seemingly clueless wait for many at bus stops in Kolkata is likely to end soon. Tech has come to the rescue. The West Bengal Transport Corporation in association with Google Maps is upgrading a mechanism to track the real-time movement of buses in the city.
One will just need to type “bus between” and write the names of the stops. And the timings and tariffs of the buses on the route will show up. It will also help a person assess the various bus options available between the starting point and the destination.
“This real-time tracking will help anyone using public transportation in the city. Running solely on GPS for a few years, now the system is transitioning to an ETM (electronic ticketing machine)-backed mechanism that will have a dual purpose: help in tracking buses, and also monitor the ticketing,” said Rajanvir Singh Kapur, the managing director of WBTC that runs buses in Kolkata.
The transport body launched its real-time bus transit services in 2017 for the ease of commuters with the help of Google Maps. This has allowed commuters to track the movement of buses and plan their journey accordingly.
The real-time location of buses was earlier tracked through GPS devices installed in them. However, delayed responses and intermittent failure of the devices were proving to be a bottleneck.
To overcome the concerns of the GPS devices receiving precise locations from the buses, WBTC is taking the initiative to put electronic ticketing machines on all the buses. The ETMs would provide exact live locations, along with real-time ticketing management.
Speaking about Google’s association, Vijay Kumar Dhatwalia, head of data products from Lepton, said, “This would be very helpful for all bus commuters to see the live location of buses and they can plan their journey as per their ease. This would also promote WBTC services and revenue enhancement owing to live visibility of buses, and increase usage of public transport.”
The transition is in progress and, officials say, the real-time information on all the bus routes in the city will be available from mid-May.