The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is planning to share bus data with private entities like Google and Trafi, reports Bangalore Mirror. The agency mentions that it had received a number of requests for sharing the data it has developed to help with pinpointing real time traffic and bus information.
As of now Google Maps provides information on bus routes, distances, bus stop locations and travel time in various cities in India, although this data is sourced through users of Google Maps and other crowdsourcing means. If the company were to get direct data from BMTC, it could provide better realtime information, including cancellation, delays etc. The same applies to the other apps that list public transportation.
Note that BMTC relaunched its own Android app recently, with features like trip planner, bus and bus stop locations, list of buses arriving at larger bus stands in the next hour, location of route and bus ETA etc. This app uses an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) to keep track of vehicles to deliver realtime information. The agency is mulling to share this system with other providers, although it’s not clear how exactly the system works.
Contradicts Geospatial bill: The poorly thought out Geospatial Information bill that the Government recently announced for consultation prohibits the collection of Geospatial data without permission, including photographs taken with cameras that generate location metadata or sharing of location over WhatsApp. Such a law would also cover the location of bus stops, buses etc., so BMTC would also have to get a license to generate and distribute this data. More on that here.
MediaNama’s Take: If BMTC indeed shares its data with private players, it would be a useful precedent for other local transport departments to follow suit, which will overall help in mapping real time public transport information across the country to the benefit of consumers. However we hope that the agency chooses opening up the platform for all players by say providing an API and keeping a level playing field, instead of allowing only certain companies to access the data, or charging for it.