SVG to introduce e-bus system early next year – Camillo Gonsalves
An e-bus system which will let commuters know how long they will have to wait for their bus will be introduced here early next year.
The initiative involves equipping participating buses with electronic devices which would transmit certain information to specialized bus stops to be installed across the country. Each bus stop would have a digital display which would let commuters know the whereabouts of participating buses and how long they will take to get to the bus stop.
The bus stops will be equipped with free wi-fi and commuters will also be able to access bus information using a mobile phone app.
Minister of of Finance, Economic Planning, Sustainable Development and Information Technology Camillo Gonsalves, speaking at a press briefing on Monday, said bus drivers will be given incentives to participate in the e-bus program.
The initiative will also allow for monitoring of certain minibus behaviours.
“We will be able to monitor the information and we know there are some stories about van drivers who drive in a less than safe manner and the devices in their vehicles will allow us to track their speed and various other information about their routes,” Gonsalves explained.
He said discussions have already been held with the National Omnibus Association (NOBA) to sensitize drivers about the program. The pilot project will focus on 20 to 30 buses in the first phase and Gonsalves is hoping that the program can be expanded as the benefits manifest themselves and the usage and ridership of the buses involved go up.
Another initiative, which will be coupled with e-bus program, is a security measure involving CCTV cameras. These programs will be implemented with the help of the Government of Taiwan under the Systems and Technology Cooperation agreement and the International Cooperation and Development Fund.
Gonsalves explained that during his recent visit to Taiwan, meeting were held with both entities who agreed to help install the CCTV cameras around the country.
“So, we amended the e-bus program to include and frontload the CCTV element to the program,” Gonsalves said while adding that the bus stops will also be equipped with wi-fi.
The CCTV cameras will be placed in Kingstown at all bus stops and other high traffic areas. They will be networkable and monitored from a room at the Central Police Station, a development which is expected to act as a crime deterrent and assist with solving crime.
Gonsalves said the cameras will also have a disaster preparedness element and Taiwan has promised to expedite the CCTV element of the program.
He also disclosed that the St Vincent Electricity Services Limited (VINLEC) and the government have agreed to allow businesses operating on the Villa strip to place wireless CCTV cameras on electricity poles in the area.
Gonsalves said the cameras are expected to improve the security in the area which has recently been placed in the spotlight because of several robberies and attacks.
Those wishing to place cameras on poles in this area will first have to apply through the government for permission.
The details will soon be made available to the public, the Minister said, adding that the installation of additional street lights and increased patrols by police in the area have already begun.