Pilot project, scheduled for December, is yet to start

The Intelligent Transport System (ITS) through which the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) intends to increase its operational efficiency and revenue generation has been a non-starter.

A pilot of the ITS that should have been in place by December first week at the BMTC’s Yelahanka depot is yet to commence and the BMTC now expects it to commence sometime next month. While global positioning system (GPS) devices have been fitted to about 210 out of 250 buses in the depot and electronic ticketing machines (ETM) are in use, integration of the both is taking time.

Software development

Sources in BMTC told The Hindu that the contractor — Trimax IT Infrastructure and Services — was unable to develop the required software and put it for testing at the right time. While the data and command control centre and GPS units were ready, the integration is yet to take place for want of the software, sources said. The BMTC had chosen Trimax to put ITS in place and agreed to pay Rs. 69 crore in equated monthly instalments over a period of five years. The payments are yet to start as the contractor is yet to commence the services, sources said.

BMTC director (Information Technology) Kumar Pushkar told The Hindu that there were some issues of integration of the hardware — GPS and ETM. Admitting that there was some delay in launching the project, Mr. Pushkar said the pilot at Yelahanka depot would commence ‘soon.’ The project in its entirety would be launched sometime in October, instead of May, he said.

Hollow promises

The corporation had been making claims of using GPS into its maximum potential to streamline operations for over a decade. However, nothing has been put in place so far, while the present ITS project appeared better planned.

The BMTC had expected increase in traffic revenue through deployment of ITS in two ways — one from increased operational efficiency including issue of tickets through ETMs and the other through increased ridership as more people were expected to use the BMTC after ITS. The project was expected to ensure reliability of services through passenger information system display units at bus stations, SMS alerts, internet and mobile apps.

The ITS was also supposed to check pilferage by conductors wherein sale of tickets through ETMs was to be relayed to the control room every five minutes. If there was any sudden dip in sale of tickets at a time when the bus was supposed to be running full, the control room could alert the checking squad.

Through all these, the BMTC expected about 20 per cent increase in revenue, which was Rs. 1,516 crore during 2012-13, justifying the amount spent on ITS.

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