BENGALURU: Commuters travelling in air-conditioned buses on routes like Kempegowda International Airport and I-T corridors like ITPB and Electronics City will soon get access to internet facility.
BMTC is planning to re-launch wi-fi facility in 200 air-conditioned buses in a few months. In 2010, BMTC introduced wi-fi facility in Vayu Vajra buses, which ferry passengers to the airport and back, on a pilot project. The facility was expanded to 60 buses in 2014 but the project was later scrapped after a private firm backed out from the contract.
“The pilot project is on. Passengers will soon get the internet facility without any additional cost. They can directly plug in their personal electronic devices such as smart phones, tablets or laptops to access internet without streaming,” said a senior BMTC official.
Many commuters welcomed the move. “A good wi-fi facility will help several passengers who are travelling in buses stuck in traffic especially during peak hours. BMTC should also ensure uninterrupted wi-fi to the passengers” said K Ramkumar, a regular passenger on air-conditioned buses.“Many private cab operators are already providing free internet facility,” he said.
The selected firms can advertise on LCD/LED panels with video and audio in the buses. The firm should ensure a minimum bandwidth speed of 7.2 Mbps for the commuters. However, download of data would be chargeable based on the rate fixed by the firm. The cost of the internet data use, equipment and installation will be born by the selected firm.
Meanwhile, BMTC has also asked the Union government for exemption from service tax on A/C buses. The Centre’s service tax on A/C buses has increased the A/C bus fares by 6 per cent. The BMTC is already losing several customers, especially on airport routes because of the private cab operators.