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Digital time boards not yet popular

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More to come: A digital display time board at a bus stand on Anna Salai, Chennai. —
More to come: A digital display time board at a bus stand on Anna Salai, Chennai. —

Vidya Venkat

“Funds insufficient to extend facility to more bus stands”

Time of arrival of 600 MTC buses installed with the GPS can be known through the boards

CHENNAI: The new digital display time boards put up at several bus stands in the city by Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) have not yet become popular with passengers.

The boards which show the arrival time, fleet number and destination of the buses have been placed at around 51 bus stands, mostly on Anna Salai and Kamarajar Salai. More such display boards will be put up at other bus stands, say MTC sources.

The time of arrival of the 600 MTC buses installed with the Global Positioning System (GPS) can be known through display boards. Services on routes PP19, 21H, 21G, 19G are among the 39 routes where this technology is used.

At the Broadway bus stand, the digital display time board, fitted near the time-keeper’s office, is too small to be noticed from a distance. Many passengers at the stand appear to be unaware of its presence. D.Balaji, employed in a private firm in Esplanade, said he usually enquired with the conductor about the departure time of the next bus instead of looking up the board.

Senior MTC officials said if a bus was crowded, the passenger had the advantage of checking the time board to see when the next service was due, so that they could get a seat in it.

They say the GPS facility has helped them discipline drivers by monitoring their starting time and time of journey.

“Complaints of buses starting late have come down in vehicles having the GPS facility,” said a senior MTC official.

However, several passengers feel the GPS facility would be useful only if they were extended to all the 3,000 buses of MTC.

“There is no point in having the facility in a select few bus stands and for a select few buses,” said R.Devika, a college student who takes the bus on 21G route from Queen Mary’s College stop.

Senior MTC officials said they did not have sufficient funds to extend the display board facility to all the bus stands and provide GPS facility in all buses.

Also, at bus stands where different buses halt at different points, passengers feel confused about when and where to board the particular bus. At the Ambattur industrial estate bus stand, for instance, passengers have to rush from one end of the bus stand to the other looking for a particular bus they want to travel in.

All India Rail and Bus Passengers Association president T.Ravikumar said the MTC must ensure that basic information such as bus numbers and their point of stopping are clearly displayed at bus stands as part of its modernisation process.

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