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Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corp. Improves On-Time Rate

BMTC adopted an RFID solution that tells it when buses are running late on routes served by its busiest terminal.
By Claire Swedberg
Sep 27, 2013

Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corp. (BMTC), which operates 6,597 buses and 50 stations throughout India's third most populous city, is boosting its on-time bus schedule rate, by employing radio frequency identification technology to track the arrival of vehicles at its most active terminal. By mounting an RFID tag on each bus and two RFID readers at the terminal's entrance, the company can identify when a particular bus may be running late, based on its arrival time, and can then address the problem as needed—for example, by assigning an additional bus to a late-running route, or by making changes to a specific route or schedule based on the RFID read times. The solution was provided by ABLogics, based in Bangalore.

An ABLogics TechBee tag, made with an Alien Technology ALN-9654 inlay, was affixed to the driver's side window of each bus.
During the two months since the technology's installation, the Indian bus company's adherence to appointed bus schedules has improved, says Amal Rani Meenakshi, ABLogics' global solutions manager for RFID. BMTC's dispatchers and managers, she explains, can now view when a bus is delayed and provide additional coverage as necessary, in order to ensure that passengers are picked up and delivered to their stops on time.

The BMTC transports 4.8 million passengers daily throughout the metropolitan area. It operates six terminals in the city of Bangalore, as well as 41 depots, and its vehicles operate according to 6,300 different schedules, for a combined average total of 83,618 trips daily. At the Shivajinagar bus terminal (BMTC's largest) in central Bangalore, approximately 1,000 buses make eight to 10 trips each day, carrying a total of 100,000 passengers. Due to the large number of vehicles, drivers and routes involved, the transit company found it nearly impossible to identify which buses were delayed, and by how much time. The company conducts continual marketing efforts to encourage the use of public buses as an alternative to private motorized vehicles, such as cars or motorcycles; however, ensuring that bus schedules are reliable is critical to attracting passengers.

ABLogics' Amal Rani Meenakshi
Prior to the installation of ABLogics' TechBee rTrack solution—consisting of passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2 RFID tags, as well as readers and software to manage the collected data—the bus company had installed GPS vehicle-tracking units on its buses. But the GPS technology had limitations, Meenakshi reports, noting that the bus-mounted units tended to provide erratic and inaccurate location information. Therefore, the company turned to ABLogics to develop a better solution.

ABLogics' TechBee tags consisted of Alien Technology ALN-9654 inlays encased in plastic material. A tag was affixed to the interior of each bus' right (driver's side) window via an adhesive. The company also installed two Convergence Systems Ltd. (CSL) CS203 readers, which were mounted on a wall near the entrance via metal brackets. Both interrogators, each of which has an integrated antenna, are located at a point at which drivers must slow down and negotiate a right-hand turn into the main terminal.

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