Kickstarting the Chennai bus route mapping project
This is one thing thats been a long time coming and much needed for Chennai. The MTC may be good at increasing their fleet, but they dont seem to know 3 paisa about giving its users usable information or even trying to do so.
You cant always use a bus to make your trip, and knowing weather you can or not is what helps you decide. In the current scenario, not only is there no information about where the bus stops are located, but no one even knows what buses will stop there or what route the bus will take. Even today, the most reliable guide is the conductor of your bus and nobody else. Even after three years of religiously using the buses, i have to confirm if the bus goes to my destination with people on the bus before boarding.
Having explored every possible avenue to get detailed information about the mtc bus routes, including personally meeting with the higher officials of the corporation itself, i can say without an atom of doubt that the MTC neither have the technical capability nor the interest to produce timetables or route maps for the public. In which case a job like this is best done by the people who need it most. us.
The bus route mapping project originated with my attempts at creating a metro-style public transport schematic map for chennai (see what it looks like), an attempt that i gave up because of information black holes that i encountered at every step. I realised that there were a lot of people who wanted something like this, because they knew the routes they travelled regularly, but in new areas they were always lost. And since i’m made up of wiki blood, it struck me that the best way to get the info that all of us are looking for is to put our heads together and throwing in whatever knowledge we have into a common pot and giving it a good stir.
If you think buses are smelly crowded crumbling death machines (you actually aren’t too much off the mark), here’s why you should still consider helping out with the project:
- each person who switches from a private vehicle to a bus, will reduce travel time on the road. both for you in your ac car as well as me, inside the death machine
- had a party and dont want to risk your head by driving back drunk? mtc to the rescue,but you wouldn’t know where to catch a bus would you? that’s why we all need this project
- the mtc bus is called a death machine because it hits and runs over people outside the bus and not inside, which means you are probably safer using the bus and leaving your unscratched car at home 😛
Some concluding notes: While i might have helped lay the foundation for this and taken some initiative, this isn’t by any means my project, its a pure community effort and the rewards will be reaped back by the community. And such kind of collaborative projects are still new in India, for one, hardly anyone here even edits wikipedia or sees the need to.I do hope something like this will give everyone a good opportunity to share their knowledge and be part of the system than just be the selfish onlooker who just complains about how things don’t work. If you have an opinion let it be heard,the reigns are in your hands now.
PS: Excuse the pep talk, just something that i had to get off. i will be a little busy the coming week because of exams and some tv shows, in the meantime, try playing around with mapping and take some initiative to discuss the tasks ahead and streamline the whole project.