This Bangkok bus stop can see the future (of buses)

File photo of the Smart Bus Shelter’s prototype.
File photo of the Smart Bus Shelter’s prototype.

What time does the bus come and where does it go? Wonder no longer when Bangkok’s transportation game gets upgraded tomorrow with the city’s first smart bus stop. 

Equipped with screens showing routes and arrival times, a charging station and Wi-Fi; the new stops mean no more waiting blindly for buses that may never come. The first is ready for use near the intersection of Rama IX and Ratchadaphisek roads on the CentralPlaza Grand Rama IX side, according to City Hall spokesperson Pongsakorn Kwanmuang. 

Pongsakorn said Bangkok has already chosen 350 of the 3,000 bus stops under its authority to upgrade based on their popularity with commuters and connections to other mass transportation. 

He said 100 stops would be turned into fully functional smart bus shelters, with the rest getting stripped-down versions. The fully geared stops will feature 55-inch screens with news and bus system information and a 32-inch screen with information about that particular stop, such as buses running the route, where they stop and times of arrival. They’ll also include Wi-Fi access, phone-charging stations and CCTV systems, while the “light” versions won’t have the giant screens or Wi-Fi.

The project is a collaboration between the city and Plan B Media, which operates much of the large-scale advertising in the capital, from billboards to those driver-distracting jumbotrons. In return for paying the THB400 million (US12.7 million) cost, the company’s sweetheart deal means being able to bombard commuters with ads for 10 years. Plan B CEO Parin Lojanakosin said the company expects to see THB300 million in annual revenue in return. 

All 350 stops are expected to be finished by July 2021

For now, commuters can track Bangkok’s buses with Bangkok Mass Transit Authority’s ViaBus app (IOS/Android).

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