Taichung-Friendly Bus App is now online! In order to service visually impaired citizens, Transportation Bureau has developed an exclusive app capable of quickly booking bus embarkation/disembarkation services using voice commands. Through the app's simple operations and GPS positioning, as soon as visually the impaired passenger enters the vicinity of the bus station, the booking will become effective immediately, and the bus driver will be reminded to stop, thereby eliminating the need to hail the bus and improving convenience.
Taichung City Government convened a road safety supervisory meeting today (12/29), which was personally hosted by Deputy Mayor Chen Tzu-Ching, and the Transportation Bureau also conducted a briefing on Taichung-Friendly Bus App. Deputy Mayor Chen commended the Transportation Bureau for caring about visually impaired citizens and for their efforts in making the bus service as convenient as possible, thereby creating a thoughtful, friendly bus environment in Taichung.
According to Transportation Bureau Director General Yeh Chao-fu, bus passengers had to hail the bus to let the bus drivers know of their intent to board the bus, but visually impaired passengers do not know if the bus is arriving or not, and they also do they have any way of obtaining bus route-related information, often relying on the help of good samaritans to successfully embark on the bus. In light of this, the Transportation Bureau designed the Taichung-Friendly Bus App, which not only offers a simple operating interface and information searching procedure, but it is also complemented by voice prompts using Chinese TTS (Text to Speech) technology and an optimized system operating interface.
The Transportation Bureau elaborated that after downloading the Taichung-Friendly Bus App, citizens must first activate the GPS positioning and push notification authorization on their smartphones. When clicking on the embarkation bus stop, they may utilize the app to book the embarkation and disembarkation bus stop locations, and the app will begin to announce the arrival information of the bus, while the bus driver will also be notified that passengers have booked to embark/disembark at the bus stop. The stop indicator next to the bus driver will light up one stop ahead of the booked stop to actively remind the driver of the bus stop location. Meanwhile, the public announcement system outside the bus and inside the bus stop will provide the passengers with information updates pertaining to the inbound bus. The Transportation Bureau explained that the current trial routes featured on the Taichung-Friendly Bus App include Taichung School for the Visual Impaired, Taichung Municipal Taichung Special School, Huei-Ming School, and 8 bus routes that are commonly used by visually impaired citizens to travel to hospitals (27, 74, 92, 107, 123, 212, 213, and 215).
The Transportation Bureau has installed a stop indicator next to the bus driver, which will light up when the bus approaches the booked embarkation/disembarkation stop to actively remind the driver to make a stop. Public announcement equipment has been installed in 14 bus stops including Taichung School for the Visual Impaired and Hui Wen Elementary School to offer passengers voice information such as arrival time on the bus they have booked. Some of the bus stops are installed with booking keyboards to let them book the bus service directly.
The Transportation Bureau reiterated that the Taichung-Friendly Bus App was officially launched in late November, and it can be downloaded via Google Play or App Store. The Transportation Bureau will engage in a rolling review of the bus booking service depending on the public's utilization and strive to obtain an additional budget to expand the scale of operation and the number of routes available, so as to allow everyone to enjoy the convenience of bus service.