The transport department has initiated serious efforts for the installation of GPS (Global Positioning System) based meters, which are considered to be more reliable and could be helpful in ensuring passenger safety, especially for women commuters, in auto rickshaws and taxis.
At a meeting with all e-meter manufacturers on Monday, the transport commissioner’s office asked them to start taking steps to develop these meters, which could allow live tracking of vehicles from control rooms, besides allowing for accurate fare calculation.
HT had first reported about the need for GPS meters for taxis and auto rickshaws, in view of the elaborate and expensive recalibration process to reset e-meters with revised fares. GPS meters in all vehicles can be reset within a minute.
A top official from the transport commissioner’s office said that it was a preliminary meeting to know about GPS meters, which is still a very novel concept. “We have plans for replacing the existing e-meters in taxis and auto rickshaws with these meters, but no timeline has been set yet,” he said.
A meter manufacturer from Pune said that while the transport department has plans to install GPS in taxis and autos under the funds instituted after the Delhi gang-rape, officials don’t know how they function. “There are practical difficulties in implementation, and so it will take some time,” he said.
Another manufacturer said that first, authorities need to install a control room, along with a server. “The transport department wants direct alert massages to go to the police, if any passenger presses the panic button on the meter,” he said. The Motor Vehicles Department has proposed to club GPS devices with e-meters in taxis and auto rickshaws, instead of installing them separately. The proposal is in the initial stages and will be sent to the state government soon.
Sources say that the transport commissioner’s office is going to send the ideas to manufacturers, in a few days.
A manufacturer advised caution. “They should first implement them in taxis, before moving on to auto rickshaws,” he said. The Delhi government has already installed GPS-meters in taxis and rickshaws, while the Chennai government is going to introduce them in all auto rickshaws soon.