In a bid to make public transport safer, all the taxis, buses and other public transport vehicles are to be mandatorily equipped with location tracking devices including GPS and an alert panic button effective April 1, 2018. While e-rikshaws and three-wheelers have been exempted (since they are open), the road transport ministry iterated the deadline for the installation of these devices in closed vehicles like buses, taxis, etc. Reports are abuzz that most of the states in the country are still lagging and hence the reminder is to expedite the process to meet April 1, 2018, deadline. The road ministry, on Wednesday, tweeted from their official twitter handle, reiterating the timeline, the tweet read, ‘From 1st April 2018, passenger transport vehicles’ including taxis and buses are to be mandatorily equipped with GPS devices.’ As confirmed by a senior official, there will be no extension to the roll-out and hence all transport vehicles should abide by the given deadline.
The GPS and alert panic buttons shall be fitted either by the dealer, manufacturer or the operators. Sources in the know, on the other hand, suggest the state transportation departments are responsible for setting up a system for tracking public transport vehicles. Since the three-wheelers are open, they have been exempted from the mandatory installation of these devices. The ministry had initially proposed mandatory installation of CCTV cameras in buses with 23 or above seats, however, it was ruled out due to privacy issues.
The transport department, as well as the police control rooms, will receive an alert as soon as the panic button is pressed. While installation of these devices in the public transport vehicles is highly appreciable, it is equally important to have a system for tracking these vehicles.