Recently, Shahril Mokhtar of Prasarana’s Group Managing Director announced via twitter that “RapidKL will have its own Fleet Tracking System (GPS) this year. Announcement will be made soon.” (16 Jan 2011)
Furthermore, @MyRapidKL added that “we’re in the midst of studying bus GPS syst which enable users 2 check bus schedule & track bus whereabout via phone apps.” (16 Jan 2011)
Well, it is really an exciting time for RapidKL this year. I am all for it – for them to introduce this Fleet Tracking System (GPS). I believe there are many benefits to having this tracking system implemented on the public bus. It will greatly help the operator to monitor the position of each bus against its schedule and punctuality. This use of technology will help the operator to micromanage the day-to-day operations with ease and minimal cost (at least in the long-run). They can use it to monitor the performance of each driver or bus (whether driving too fast, idling for too long, bus breakdown), and also the condition of the traffic on the roads. All these raw information collected from each GPS tracking unit will then be translated into useful data, to plan and budget for the whole operations of RapidKL buses.
As commuters, our hope that public buses will be more punctual and frequent maybe realized soon. We have no complaints about the LRT because it is always on time, barring any mechanical breakdown. If the public bus service can be vastly improved, then we all can sing its praises. Tourist dollars will come, sure enough. We won’t be comparing ours with Singapore’s public transport infrastructure, and envy the island down south with green eyes. We’ll have our own efficient system.
Oh, just one thing – why do commuters need to check the bus schedule and track the bus via phone apps? I don’t find any real reason wanting to know where the next bus is. Anyway, most of us (the bus commuters) can’t afford some fancy (expensive) smartphones to check the whereabouts of the buses. What we want is better punctuality and more frequent service. If your bus comes every 15 minutes, I don’t want to know where the next bus is. So, @MyRapidKL, your plan for the phone apps is quite unnecessary. Just ensure your buses are punctual, clean, comfortable and quiet.
And please stop introducing feelgood bus service, like the Rapid Bas Wanita, that does not contribute to the satisfactory service, in terms of scheduling and punctuality.
Well done, and good luck! I am looking forward to your announcement.