Yangyel Lhaden

Come September, City Bus Services (CBS) will start their new software called fleet management system (FMS)  which is expected to monitor buses efficiently.

The city bus office will serve as the command center, where officials will virtually monitor buses through an LED screen. The software will have data on each of its 60 buses and their routes. 

The new system will alert the command centre when a bus remains stationed at a bus stop for an extended period, deviates from its designated route, or if a driver fails to complete the assigned route.

The buses will have a panic button option for emergencies which will activate an alarm at the command centre. 

“Right now, we cannot say our service is efficient because we cannot send an official after each bus,” Director of CBS Pasang Tshering said, “ With the new software we can monitor buses live from our command centre and enhance our services.”

He said that the current monitoring system is based on complaints. “Whenever a customer complains we go and check. If there are multiple complaints on a particular driver, we create a profile for them.”

With the new software, he said that the management can be transparent and will have proof to say whether a customer’s complaint is legit or not.

Pasang Tshering said that occasionally, someone would complain that the bus did not arrive, but in most cases, they found out that the customer had missed the first bus by a small margin and ended up waiting longer for the next one. “With FMS, we can provide evidence to passengers regarding the bus driver’s punctuality, whether it arrived on time or departed as scheduled.”

The new system will also overhaul the CBS’s application, Gakyid Ride, which was introduced nearly two years ago for users to track buses in real-time. It remains non-functional.

Pasang Tshering said that the CBS server didn’t have enough space to store data from the application. “Whenever there was a power outage, the entire application needed to restart. Moreover, in certain areas where there was no internet connection, the real-time bus locations could not be displayed.”

Gakyid Ride Application Developer Phuntsho Wangdi said that FMS with its comprehensive features would remove previous restrictions as the system should be able to handle continuous location request without denial or disruptions.  “The new system is expected to be more robust, resilient, and capable of handling power outages and server shut downs.”

He said that previously, they were granted access to a small, cost-free module of the flight management system. While it provided some useful features despite being free, it came with significant limitations. Notably, the system would deny continuous requests for bus locations, leading to inaccuracies and showing buses as stationary in the application, Phuntsho Wangdi said.

Gakyid application has been downloaded by about 2000 android and about 100 IOS users. CBS bought Gakyid Application for Nu 700,000 with funding support from UNDP.

The Fleet Management System is funded by World Bank through Thimphu Thromde’s project called Bhutan Green Transport.