‘SMS system flop, need real-time bus tracking’

Written By Unknown on Sabtu, 10 Januari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The SMS facility to find out the next bus's expected time of arrival (ETA) seems non-functional at several BEST stops across the city. The BEST had launched the service with much fanfare about one-and-a-half years ago, but passengers say the system doesn't work most of the time.

Commuters have now demanded that real-time bus tracking system be made available through a mobile app so that they can check if a bus is delayed or stuck in a jam and plan their journeys accordingly.

A commuter rights activist, requesting anonymity, said, "The BEST has GPS trackers for at least 2,000 buses. They should share the information with public."

Rishi Agarwal of the Mumbai Transport Forum said, "The SMS service is not up to the mark. They need to create better systems such as a comprehensive mobile app, which can provide information at fingertips. Such apps should be developed by experts and those representing reputed global software companies. Public money should not be wasted on developing shoddy systems."

This TOI correspondent tried to use the SMS service at at least three bus stops, for more than a dozen bus routes, outside CST. In all cases, the reply was: "Bus is not running on the requested stop". The facility did not provide ETA for buses running past CST, one of the busiest stations in Mumbai.

A senior BEST official, however, denied the charge. "The ETA system is working and it is fine. We need to check if there are some teething problems," he said.

BEST committee member Kedar Hombalkar said the BEST has always failed to implement new technologies. "Most of its CCTV cameras have no recording facility, the ETA system is a flop and the AC buses procured at high costs are breaking down. The quality of service has gone down and a lot of questions are being raised in awarding of contracts," he said.

A BEST source, however, said that GPS trackers installed in 2,000 to 2,500 buses have helped the undertaking keep real-time check on vehicle movements. "The GPS data has been shared with us. The main control room has been upgraded with systems that can check the location of every bus fitted with the tracking device. Also, at the 26 depots, managers can keep a track on vehicles entering/leaving depots and ascertain reasons for delay," the source said.

Activists demanded that GPS data be made available to the public.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=time of arrival,'SMS system

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