Public transport could soon become safer, especially for women, if the state government adopts the suggestions made by the Centre and installs closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) in all public transport buses in cities.
The recommendations made by the Union urban development ministry in the wake of the Delhi gangrape also include the installation of GPS or GPRS in public transport buses, along with onboard surveillance cameras.
“The GPS/GPRS and CCTVs are important security features that are being considered for all public transport vehicles in the light of recent incident,” the ministry said in a January 14 directive to state governments.
The ministry has suggested that states should ask owners of autos and taxis to install GPS/ GPRS in their vehicles for passenger safety. It will also help improve people’s faith on public transport, the directive states.
The ministry said GPS /GPRS in autos and taxis will help the police control room keep track of them. The GPS will also facilitate fare calculation for the police.
The BEST Undertaking has already started installing CCTV and GPS in its buses. Around 2,500 buses already have CCTVs, while 1,200 have been fitted with GPS.
“The rest of the buses will be fitted with CCTVs by end of April 2014 and GPS before the end of this year,” said OP Gupta, general manager, BEST.
Despite repeated efforts, transport secretary Shailesh Sharm was unavailable for comments on how the state government was going to implement the Centre’s directive.
Auto and taxi unions, which strongly resisted the installation of electronic meters and are now in the process of getting them installed, are likely to resist this move as well.
“It is unacceptable. It’s possible only if the GPS is complimentary from the government. Such proposals are unacceptable till the government grant us a fare hike of Rs30,” said AL Quadros, taxi union leader.