Learn how to bake while riding on bus
Construction worker Richard del Monte learned just that while watching “Chef on the Go with Chef Andre Soriano” on board a MetroLink bus on his way home.
Shipping analyst Jess Rosales found a perfect stress-buster while riding on a bus to and from her office. “I love watching YouTube shows. It helps relieve me of work stress,” she said.
Learning and relaxing are just among the perks enjoyed by passengers Del Monte and Rosales aboard public transport outfitted with the infotainment platform Inquirer Catalyst Media (ICM) Bus Channel.
A digital innovation, ICM Bus Channel features news and weather updates from the Inquirer.net website, selected music videos from YouTube and shows for a “fun, light, friendly and modern programming” packaged just for a bus rider, said Gary Libby, managing director of ICM.
“This is our way of engaging urban residents who travel by bus to get to and from work,” Libby said.
The shows are viewed from four LED monitors positioned at the front and the middle aisle. The monitors are connected to a computer on board the bus and a Wi-Fi connection allows Inquirer.net to send news feeds and videos to the Bus Channel.
Anthony de los Santos, ICM chief technological officer, said YouTube videos and music videos were being uploaded onto the computer’s hard drive. An ICM technician checks the computer on the buses to update the videos.
Vacationing overseas worker Jerome Lopez, 24, said he enjoyed the YouTube videos featuring Mikey Bustos, Bogart the Explorer and JaMich. “I wish we could have more music videos,” he said in Filipino.
Call center agent Shiela Canancia, 20, shared Lopez’s views about the YouTube videos. She said she found the GPS service helpful but she still had to try the free Wi-Fi service.
Initiated in February 2012 on 25 buses owned by Jam Liner Inc., ICM Bus Channel is now available on 185 air-conditioned buses plying the Metro Manila and Luzon routes, Libby said.
The MetroLink buses plying the routes Alabang-Navotas, Ayala-Fairview, Coastal Mall-Malanday and Baclaran-Ayala have had the ICM Bus Channel on board since February.
Provincial bus liners Jam Liner, Dagupan, Genesis, St. Rose, Erjohn & Mark and Saulog are also fitted with ICM Bus Channel, Libby said.
Aside from the popular YouTube videos of Mikey Bustos, Bogart the Explorer and JaMich, ICM Bus Channel also runs its own comedy show, “The Adventures of Kute and Puge,” a spiel about the problems of twentysomethings.
It also features the culinary show “Chef on the Go with Chef Andre Soriano” and its own music show, “Tugtog Lokal,” featuring eye candy VJ Nicole.
Call center workers Don Canding, 25; Mon Ablang, 27; Dante Mandirigma, 25; and Susan Santos prefer news, traffic and weather updates over music videos. They said it would be more helpful to passengers if there were “more updates and longer news feeds.”
But Bianca Tan, a 26-year-old secretary who takes the bus daily, disagreed. “It’s more interesting to watch a music video than read the news [while on the bus],” she said.
Aside from the improved commuting experience, bus companies benefit from ICM through a feedback SMS line.
“Commuters text their complaints and concerns to us, which we relay to bus operators,” Libby said.
ICM is part of the Inquirer Group of Companies, which include the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inquirer.net, Inquirer Publications Inc., Radyo Inquirer DZIQ 990 AM, Print Town Group, DAG Xpress Courier Inc. and Megamobile.
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