BMTC info boards appreciated, but accuracy remains an issue for commuters 

These boards display information about the registration number, series number, destination and ETA of the upcoming buses

February 05, 2024 07:54 am | Updated 07:55 am IST - Bengaluru

A digital board at a bus shelter which provides information on destinations and bus arrival times.

A digital board at a bus shelter which provides information on destinations and bus arrival times. | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

“At around 7.30 p.m., I reached Shivajinagar bus station recently and I was very happy after looking at the digital board there that the bus I was supposed to take would arrive in four minutes. The bus after that was supposed to arrive in seven minutes. There were four such buses supposed to arrive within 15 minutes. However, half an hour later, none of the buses mentioned on the board came to the station,” Priyanka. K., a private firm employee recalled. 

Yet another day in J.P. Nagar, Shaheen Shasa, a regular bus commuter and also a member of Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike noticed on the digital board at a bus stop that a bus was supposed to arrive in 45 minutes. A minute later, a bus carrying the same registration number passed right in front of her. 

Over the last few months, digital LED information boards put up by the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), under the Nirbhaya scheme have sprung up at various bus stops and Traffic Transit Management Centres (TTMCs). These boards display information about the registration number, series number, destination and ETA of the upcoming buses.  

While Bengalureans have been appreciative of these boards which help them plan their public transport rides, the accuracy of it, varies from one bus stop to the other. 

For instance, at the Shantinagar TTMC, the information boards are highly accurate. The buses arrive as and when it is indicated on the board. In many other areas like Mehkri Circle, Bannerghatta Road and parts of the Central Business District (CBD), however, it is not the case.  

BMTC officials acknowledged a possible data lag between the database and display boards. “Although we cannot expect 100% accuracy due to the traffic situation in Bengaluru, we want to provide some information to our commuters to plan their journey. There might be a lag in the updation of the ETA of buses as sometimes in the City, because of traffic signals, or some senior citizen stopping the bus to get in, the ETA of the buses change,” said Ramachandra. R, Managing Director, BMTC. 

“We are working on bridging this gap and increasing the frequency of updation on these boards. In the meantime, we urge our passengers to use the Namma BMTC app as it provides real time information about the buses,” he added.

Ms. Shasa pointed out that while the app might provide up to 70% accurate data, for a person standing at a bus stop, what they see there becomes more relevant. “If a passenger sees that the bus will arrive at the bus stop in a few minutes and then the digital board says that there will be a delay in arrival, then they would believe that their plan might not work.” She also added that the boards also have other issues such as their cycle (where only three buses are shown at once), the language (only English display) and visibility. 

She and many other regular commuters agreed that these boards are a critical need in the city and more such boards should be added.  

“I have seen first-hand at many places that buses have arrived according to the information displayed on digital info boards, but at some places, they are not as accurate. Such initiatives face many issues in a city like Bengaluru, but it is better than what we had (or did not have) before. It is a great addition, and it should become a universal thing,” said Srinivas Alavilli, a fellow at WRI India.  

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