BENGALURU: The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) plans to put the data on bus schedules in the public domain, following in the footsteps of its sister concern, the Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC).
BMTC has come up with a draft policy on open data, the first step towards enabling private individuals to access real-time bus information. The data could result in a slew of mobile applications and better bus planning ideas. “The draft will be placed before the next board meeting for approval,” BMTC managing director NV Prasad told ET.
The meeting, however, may take time due to the political turmoil in the state and the absence of a transport minister in the JD(S)- Cong coalition government, which lost the trust vote on Tuesday.
Last week, representatives from Google met the BMTC management over sharing of real-time data on bus schedules and movements. The managing director remained tight-lipped over what transpired in the meeting.
It’s learnt that the corporation is open to the idea of sharing data with the popular search engine as it would benefit “a large section of the society and also increase ridership.”
Sources said the draft is, more or less, a copy of KSRTC’s open data policy. The KSRTC, which operates about 600 city bus services in Mysuru, put out its transit data on its website last week, giving public access to information such as transit routes, bus stops and trips. The data is free but cannot be used for commercial purposes.
“Given the large number of the bus fleet and the daily ridership, BMTC’s data will have more impact,” independent researcher Srinivas Kodali said. “If people can track where a bus is on a realtime basis, more people will start using the services. The BMTC stands to gain as it would help increase ridership,” he said. Kodali believes the BMTC should explore the possibility of selling the data.
Cities such as New Delhi, Kochi and Hyderabad have already introduced an open data policy, enabling people to access transit data online. With BMTC’s 6,500 GPS enabled buses, the availability of bus data online could attract a number of start-up companies and researchers to either develop mobile applications or review bus operations.
Urban mobility expert Pawan Mulukutla said other civic agencies such as the BBMP, BWSSB should follow in the footsteps of the BMTC and make available their data to the public.
“The government should come up with a city data platform. Information on the garbage collection system or road works should all be available in the public domain. This will help improve governance. The department will also get a lot of external support to improve services,” he said.
The draft will be placed before the next board meeting for approval, BMTC MD NV Prasad said.