Public transport vehicles to get GPS, panic buttons from 2018
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Public transport vehicles to get GPS, panic buttons from 2018

Buses and taxis to have a location-tracking device to alert authorities

india Updated: Dec 05, 2016 23:52 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta
Moushumi Das Gupta
Hindustan Times
Public transport,GPS,Women's safety
The amendments to the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, aimed at making such vehicles safe for women, were notified by the Union road transport and highways ministry on November 28.(Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times)

Come April 1, 2018, the Centre will make it mandatory for all public service vehicles — including buses and taxis — to have a location-tracking device and one or more emergency buttons to alert authorities in an emergency. However, the Centre has decided against making the installation of CCTV cameras mandatory, citing privacy concerns.

The amendments to the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, aimed at making such vehicles safe for women, were notified by the Union road transport and highways ministry on November 28.

Safe Travel
  • Panic buttons to be installed in front of passengers’ seats. Once pressed, transport department and police control will be alerted
  • Three-wheelers, two-wheelers exempt from installing GPS devices and emergency buttons
  • CCTV cameras not mandatory as the government feels it is a violation of privacy

The panic buttons will be installed in front of the passenger’s seat for easy access. Once pressed, both the transport department and police control rooms will be alerted. “If a woman in distress presses it, a signal will be transmitted to a centralised control room. The GPS device in the vehicle will help authorities track the vehicle’s location. The movement of the buses can be tracked round the clock,” said a road ministry official.

The move comes about four years after a 23-year-old medical student was brutally gang-raped in a moving bus in New Delhi. She succumbed to her injuries a week later. The incident led to nationwide protests, forcing the government to come up with a slew of measures to beef up security for women in cities across the country. Many of them, including the launch of safe public transport vehicles, recruitment of more women police personnel and installation of CCTV cameras in public places, were patchily implemented.

A draft notification issued on May 2 had mentioned the installation of CCTV cameras in public transport buses. However, the ministry decided against it. “We were told that installing cameras in public transport vehicles would violate commuters’ privacy,” said a ministry official.

Vehicles that don’t require a permit under the Motor Vehicle Act — such as three-wheelers, e-rickshaws and two-wheelers — have been exempted from installing the mandatory location tracking system and emergency buttons.

First Published: Dec 05, 2016 23:51 IST