No panic buttons in public transports till 2019
According to regional transport officials, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) on Friday issued a notification deferring the implementation of the system till April 2019.mumbai Updated: Apr 22, 2018 00:08 IST
In a relief to public transport organisations and autorickshaw and taxi drivers, the Union government has postponed the mandatory installation of vehicle tracking system (VTS) and panic buttons in vehicles till April 2019.
According to regional transport officials, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) on Friday issued a notification deferring the implementation of the system till April 2019.
In a bid to make public transport safer, through a notification dated November 28, 2016, MORTH had made installation of VTS and panic button mandatory in all public service vehicles including public and private buses, tourist cabs, taxis, and autos from April 1, 2018. According to regional transport officials, this rule would have affected 3.70 lakh public transport vehicles in the state, who would have to pay for the installations from their own pockets.
Even regional transport offices (RTO) in the state had stopped issuing fitness certificates – which certify that the vehicle is roadworthy – to all public service vehicles, if they came without VTS and panic buttons. Autorickshaw and taxi unions had strongly opposed the rule.
Giving in to their pressure, the state transport department had decided to hold the implementation till it received any clarification from MORTH. AL Quadros, leader of Mumbai Taximens Union that represents drivers of the black and yellow cabs welcomed the decision. “It won’t end our opposition. If the government wants to install the system in taxis, it should use Nirbhaya fund, which is lying idle in government coffers,” he said. The Centre’s decision has however upset activists. “This is outrageous as this matter was already delayed for a considerably long period,” said GR Vora, civic activist. AV Shenoy, a transport expert, said since this is a public safety feature, it should not be deferred. “We may have more Nirbhaya cases. The government should have been firm on the implementation date,” he said.