Chennai would soon be the first city in India to get a mass passenger information system in its public transport systems. The state transport buses in the city are being fitted with GPS (global positioning systems) that will enable passengers to track buses on their mobile phones, bus stops and on the Internet.
“That is just the beginning. What is envisioned is a full fledged modern passenger information system,” said Ashok Leyland (ALL) Telematics business unit president Jayaram Krishnan. The company supplies buses to the fleet of Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC), the PSU which runs city transport buses in Chennai. “This includes sensors at the entry and exit door steps, automatic ticketing, audio and video announcement systems at bus stops, driver alarms on vital engine parameters and recording of engine diagnostics for future reference.”
The main difference between this project and other GPS projects is that others are used for tracking by fleet owners, while this one would be used passenger information. Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) had implemented a GPS-based passenger information system in its air-conditioned Volvo buses two years back. But, Chennai will be the first city to implement it in mass transport.
ALL's Telematics unit, which was formed late in 2006, has been the programme manager for this project, whose technical aspects were being worked on by Ohm Infotech, Siemens and Lattice Bridge Information Systems. The project was implemented on a pilot of 100 city buses initially. Presently, 600 buses are connected in this system, with LED displays for tracking them at 51 bus stops in the city.
“Buses in select routes have the GPS facility now. It will be gradually extended to 1500 buses by the end of the year, and to the whole fleet (5000 buses including the ongoing fleet addition) in two years,” an MTC spokesperson said. The transport department has also submitted proposals to extend the initiative to 300 buses each in Madurai and Coimbatore by the end of the year.
“The first phase of implementation