Kochi: The Smart Bus System being implemented by the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) has helped bus operators in the city earn more revenue besides effecting a reduction in mishaps.
Under the project initiated in 2017, nearly 1000 buses operating in the Greater Cochin Region were classified into seven limited companies and the buses being equipped with Electronic Ticketing Machines, GPS devices, surveillance cameras and PIS screens. The buses also started accepting ‘Kochi1’ smart cards (National Common Mobility card).
“There is a ten per cent increase in revenue per bus per day. This was achieved by plugging revenue leakage, often from the part of crew, and additional revenue by way of on-screen advertisement and subsidies provided by various players like fuel supplier to the seven companies,” metro sources said.
The mishaps too have reduced post formation of the bus companies which operate on equal profit sharing basis that led to private buses abstaining from speeding and vying with each other. “The total accidents reduced from 2503 in 2017, when the project was introduced, to 2411 in 2018,” the sources added. The bus owners too vouch the benefits post introduction of the system.
“It’s true the collection has gone up as the system prevents revenue leakage (pilferage by crew). We star-ted getting ad revenues, th-anks to PIS Screens that are mainly used for announcement of stops for the conve-nience of passengers,” said George Joseph, an owner of 10 buses and a designated partner of the Greater Cochin Bus Transport LLP.
“The crew is also under surveillance throughout service operation. In fact it positively impacted them with drivers being more careful and the behaviour of conductors to passengers improving by leaps and miles,” he added.
Similarly ‘My Metro Bus Services’ LLP, which includes buses operating in Vytilla-Vytilla route, saved nearly `30 lakh in six months through fuel subsidy provided by oil supplier BPCL.
“However, the fuel subsidy was stopped by the government since the last three months after other suppliers raised complaints,” George rued.
Currently a total of 150 buses are equipped with the Smart technology features. The process of installing GPS and introduction of ETMs in other buses is progressing. The system will also be extended to KSRTC, SWTD boats and the autorickaws in the future.