Track your travel with GPS on 200 buses

Usually, Ukira Pandian will arrive at Madurai Mattuthavani bus stand at 4.30 a.m. to pick up his daughter. But, nowadays, he just arrives a few minutes before the arrival of Chennai-Madurai bus, as he keeps tracking the movement of the bus through a mobile app.

On the lines of Ola and Uber, a Chennai-based start-up firm has installed GPS-based vehicle tracking system on 200 super deluxe private buses. Thus, Tamil Nadu becomes one of the earliest adopters of this technology.

“The new initiative is not only commuter-friendly, but also saves considerable time for us. I keep travelling to Madurai quite frequently. Ever since the introduction of new system, I hardly go to Egmore or Koyambedu as I board the bus at Guindy,” said Mahesh Pandi.

Having gone through the pain of wasting several hours just for booking tickets during the festive season and then spending several hours to reach the terminal before the actual departure of buses, the promoters of — Vasu Ramasamy and Karthi — hit upon this IT-based solution of booking ticket with a simple touch.

They had to fight several odds to bring travel agencies and private bus operators to come on to a platform to digitize ticket booking. This was followed by installing GPS based vehicle tracking system in over 200 super deluxe buses. co-founder Karthi said: “Generally, travel is associated with three pain points. Firstly, you have to get transport to reach the bus terminal on time. Secondly, you have to find the exact location of the bus and thirdly, you might not know when it will start. We have fitted buses with tracking system to reduce the additional travelling time.”

An SMS will be sent to the ticket holder. He can track the movement of the bus on a real-time basis. “In case, he is from south Chennai, he need not go to Koyambedu Bus terminal, but can stand at a place closer to his residence to board the bus on time. SMS intimation will be given to him, when the bus is a few kilometres away from the designated place,” he said.

Vasu Ramasamy, COO and Co-founder, said: “Based on our past experience, we started this company to make ticketing and travelling a pleasant experience. Having accomplished the first task, we have moved on to the next task. Currently, we have installed this facility in private buses on a pilot basis.”

“As soon as the bus departs from terminus, we start getting alerts for every five minutes. It is more useful for parents to track their children while travelling alone. It is a welcome move and hope even the State Transport Corporations will follow it,” said B. Ashok of T. Nagar.

Thozhan Trust organiser M. Radhakrishnan said it would be more useful for the general public, if it was implemented in MTC buses too as more than 30 per cent of people living in the outskirts depend on it. It would be vital to identify the exact spots in case of accident or traffic jam.