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BEST can track only one-third of its buses

Out of the 4,200 buses on roads, the PIS software is currently installed in 1,700 buses, and is operational in only 1,386. As a result, the software shows inaccurate information

The passenger information system (PIS) project, initiated to keep an eye on the movement of the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) buses, has not been able to provide practical information as expected.

Once the software is installed in all the buses, commuters can access real-time information about the movement of buses while standing at a bus stop. File pic
Once the software is installed in all the buses, commuters can access real-time information about the movement of buses while standing at a bus stop. File pic

Out of the 4,200 buses on roads, the PIS software is currently in 1,700 buses, and is operational in only 1,386. As a result, the software shows inaccurate information at times, it shows the next bus will arrive in two hours, which is clearly incorrect.

The undertaking decided to start the project with the intent to let commuters know the status and location of a particular bus on the desired route while waiting at a bus stop. The information can be received via SMS, by going on the website (www.bestpic.in) or by installing the mobile application.

The PIS, with the help of the software, tracks the movements of buses via satellite, giving more or less a precise location of the buses.

However, according to officials from the BEST, the project has been moving at a snail’s pace, and with the software set up in only one-third of the buses, there is usually inadequate information given to passengers.

“As the PIS shows location of only those buses with the software, it is possible that the information provided will be inaccurate,” said an official from the BEST.

Therefore, while a bus might arrive in the next couple of minutes, the app shows a one-hour gap. However, officials are hopeful that once more buses get the software, the PIS can soon be used to provide real-time information.

On an average, about 100 buses are being fitted with the software every three weeks. Presently, air-conditioned and corridor bus routes have been covered. Inside the buses, the two screens that are used to display advertisements, also display the names of the next bus stop.

Officialspeak
A Tamboli, chief spokesperson of BEST, said, “The project has been taken up by the agency, BEST TV, who are working on installing the PIS.”

About the project
>> The PIS project was cleared by the BEST authorities back in June 2012, and within two months, the fleet of 280 air-conditioned buses were covered under the system
>> The aim was to provide passengers information, in real-time, about the movement of buses
>> In future, it would help commuters plan their bus journey by giving them information in advance, like the arrival of a bus at the bus stop, and the approximate time it would take to reach a destination

How PIS works
>> The Global Positioning System (GPS) mounted on buses receives longitude and latitude coordinates from the satellite
>> This information is sent to the centralised server through GPRS
>> After receiving inputs from buses, the server will update the display boards at bus stops en-route and on dedicated portals

SMS System
Passengers can receive information by texting the five-digit bus stop number to 56060 (for example, “BEST 02001” to 56060) that is displayed on the top of every bus stop.

Online tracking
Real-time information is also available on the website www.bestpic.in, where passengers can register and track the schedule of their desired buses.

1,386
Number of buses that have the PIS operational in them

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