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Pinoy tech startup develops GPS info system for LRT-2

MANILA, Philippines — A local tech startup company has developed a cloud-based, global positioning system (GPS)-equipped passenger information system for the Light Rail Transit Line 2 that can be further developed into a world-class signalling mode for the LRT-1 and the EDSA-bound Metro Rail Transit.

Under the Passenger-Assist Railway Display Systems or PARDS installed by startup TrackMate Business Solutions Inc. in some 400 coaches of 10 trains of the LRT-2, passengers can get real-time information on the location of their trains as well as immediate updates on sudden delays or stops during their ride.

This is done through a 22-inch high-definition television monitor installed in each coach of an LRT-2 train.

Lemuel dela Cruz, TrackMate chief executive officer, said the real-time location information provided by PARDS enables LRT-2 management to have an efficient monitoring system for the entire rail line.

“It’s like a TV network and a signalling system combined,” Dela Cruz told The STAR in a recent interview.

The project included the installation of a command center that allows LRTA to monitor train performance and passenger flow with actual real-time images.

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Dela Cruz said they are now working on a better version of PARDS, developing it into an actual signalling system even as it has drawn positive feedback from LRT-2 passengers.

“The premise for the whole thing is that commuters are complaining a lot on social media about the trains and we realize that the bottom line is they do not know what is happening. We aim to solve that by creating a communication line between the train operator and the passengers,” Cielo Remorin, TrackMate marketing manager, said.

Remorin said the first project of TrackMate was set up in 2013 at the Madrigal Business Park in Alabang, Muntinlupa City where a software was developed to manage trucks and buses using GPS technology, which proved successful.

“That system is now applied to trains. What you see on the screen is real-time. It has a location component. Passengers would be able to know where the train is in real time,” Remorin said.

The PARDS system has been cited by passengers as one of the main reasons for giving LRT-2 the highest score during a Department of Transportation customer satisfaction survey. MRT unsurprisingly scored the lowest, while LRT-1, despite being taken over by Light Rail Manila Corp., a joint venture consortium of Ayala Corp. and Metro Pacific, took second place.

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