Bengaluru: Passengers Suffer As BMTC Action Shuts Down Teen’s Mobile App For Real-Time Bus Tracking

One of the original red BMTC Volvo buses acquired in 2006 (Nikhil K/Wikimedia Commons)

15-year old Nihar Thakkar has been forced to take down his Android application from the Google Play Store after Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) refused to share the real-time tracking data with him, Times of India reports.

The teen’s app for mobile phones was a hit among bus passengers as it offered them an alternative to the reportedly glitchy BMTC app. The app already had over one lakh downloads and came into the limelight following a media report.

BMTC, on learning about the app, while initially invited Thakkar for knowledge sharing, blocked his access to user data subsequently. On learning from Thakkar that their data aggregation server was open, BMTC moved to lock it with a password. In absence of the real time data, Thakkar has now been forced to take down his app from the marketplace.

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“I’am ready to work with BMTC to improve its app, free of cost. The BMTC app is slow, often crashes, takes time to load and provides inaccurate time. It’s not user-friendly and there is a lot of scope to improve it,” Thakkar said.

When Thakkar’s parent’s approached BMTC regarding the issue, BMTC instead invited them to take part in the tender process instead.

“When we approached BMTC, they asked us to participate in the tender and take up the entire IT project. But we are not keen on commercial benefits and don’t have the resources too. We could help them come up with a better app,” Rajesh Thakkar, Nihar’s father said.

While several cities allow independent service developers to access transit data, which can be used to provide services to consumers, BMTC has steadfastly refused to do so. The report cites the example of Delhi, which has an Open Transit Data Platform, from which the data can be availed by independent parties free of cost.

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