Cebu North Bus Terminal (CNBT) and South Bus Terminal (CSBT) operators welcomed the initiative of the Cebu Provincial Government to provide Global Positioning Systems (GPS) for free through RideHero, a mobile application on bus tracking.
In a meeting with Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, bus operators applauded upon knowing that the GPS devices can be availed free of charge.
The operators disclosed that the GPS device is already a mandatory requirement of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and that they have been compliant in the installation of the device.
According to Primrose Pacenio-Kong of the Board of Directors of JRK Lines, they have paid around P5 thousand two years ago for the GPS installation and another P500 as monthly payment. JRK Lines is a member of the Cebu South Provincial Bus Operators Cooperative.
RideHero President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Cubos enlightened the operators that just like signing up to an electronic mail (e-mail) account years back where one is required to pay, things have come to change through the years.
“Pwede man gyud nga malibre na siya. Sa una bitaw kon mo-sign up ta’g e-mail pabayron man ta, but with technology, we have found ways to make applications readily available without a cost to the users. Mao man ni ang instruction ni Gov. Gwen nga dili mo mahasol. Salamat ni Gov Gwen for believing in this smart development,” Cubos elucidated.
RideHero involves trip tracking of buses and Capitol-managed vehicles for more convenience and support to public transportation.
The app looks for available routes in bus stops, for example, and shows the estimated time of arrival (ETA) of upcoming buses. It provides bus amenities such as air conditioning unit, passenger capacity, Wi-Fi availability, toilet, and even a space for wheelchairs.
Kong remarked she finds the mobile app beneficial to both operators and passengers.
“Beneficial siya sa pasahero, nya kami nga operatoras we will know sa transaction, sa mga agianan. It is a challenge for the past years nga dili gyud namo ma-monitor kaayo ang among mga driver 24 hours, especially sa among mga mini bus. Good thing karon nga naa ni nga app,” she expressed.
Kong disclosed that compared to the GPS device required of them by the LTFRB, the RideHero app is more interesting because of the smarter features.
“Sa GPS device nga gi-require, igo lang gyud maka-monitor sa ruta. That’s it, wala siya’y benefits sa pasahero. Nya ang provider lang ang makakita most of the data. Unlike aning RideHero nga bisan layo mi, makakita mi sa information, bisan naa mi sa balay, so very beneficial gyud,” she added.
Garcia said a separate meeting with LTFRB will open a discussion on the concern.
“It’s about time we emerge from the dark ages. Smarter technology such as this guides better in policy and control nga maka-benefit kaayo sa mga pasahero,” the governor pointed out.
As for the concern on availability of the app even on dead spots, Garcia cited the principle on which Waze works on.
Waze is a navigation app that can work in more places without disruption even as buses go through areas with no signal.
“Makita man na nimo siya magsige og searching pero mo-continue ra na siya as soon as it gets beyond the dead spot areas,” she said.
Cubos vowed this can be easily dealt with as the app developer continue to explore possibilities and solutions even to unique situations.
Five hundred buses are using the CSBT as their primary terminal while 70 buses are using a temporary CNBT at the SM City Cebu facility, according to provincial bus terminal manager Carmen Quijano.
Meanwhile, north-bound mini buses are now allowed to ply the north Cebu road.
Garcia advised bus operators to always take with them the special permit issued by the LTFRB since Cebu is still under a community quarantine. (Eleanor Valeros)