GPS devices to be put in short-haul Seoul buses

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GPS devices to be put in short-haul Seoul buses

Seoul’s short-haul public buses will soon be installed with GPS devices, allowing them to be tracked by smartphone applications that display arrivals down to the seconds on users’ handsets.

Seoul announced yesterday that the Bus Management System (BMS), which utilizes the U.S.-operated Global Positioning System, will be expanded to its fleet of so-called village buses. Village buses generally only service individual neighborhoods.

The BMS system has long been installed in the rest of the city’s fleet of public buses.

A number of apps exist that allow smartphone users to track the whereabouts of buses to time their arrival at stops along their routes. One popular app called Seoul Bus, which is available in English, allows users to time a bus’s arrival down to the second.

There are 1,366 village buses in Seoul servicing 207 routes and run by 121 companies. Over 1.2 million people on average use village buses daily. BMS will use GPS technology to transmit bus’ locations to a central bus control center, which will be processed and provided to users in real time. The service will be available in November.

Aside from smartphones, the information will be accessible via the Internet and by dialing a phone number.

The system also allows bus companies to more efficiently operate their routes and time the intervals of their departures. Seoul will spend 2 billion won ($1.81 million) to fit the 1,366 village buses with the system. Some of the money will be spent on upgrading the CCTV system.

Seoul also announced that it will spend 9 billion won to support 40 village bus companies that are running deficits.

By Yim Seung-hye []

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