Old vehicles in Maharashtra to get relief from tracking system and panic button
In a big relief to taxis and bus operators, including the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking, the transport department of Maharashtra has directed all the Regional Transport Offices (RTO) not to force for installation of vehicle tracking system and panic buttons to public service vehicles registered, sold or manufactured before April 1, 2018.
The directive issued through transport commissioner office states that the department has sought clarification from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) about mandatory fitment of the tracking device and panic button. Hence, this relaxation to the old vehicles will be applicable till then.
With this, RTO offices will now be able to issue fitness certificates to certify if a vehicle is road-worthy, to existing buses and taxis. However, they will have to ensure that newly manufactured buses are fitted with the a tracking device and panic buttons.
Through a notification dated November 28, 2016, MORTH has made installation of vehicle tracking system (VTS) and panic button mandatory on all public service vehicles that include buses and taxis, from April 1. In November 2017, Maharashtra government had informed all the RTOs about implementation of the new regulation.
After Hindustan Times highlighted the confusion among the RTO officials and the operators of buses and taxis through a news story published on April 5, the transport department immediately came into action and issued the directive in the noon. The new story had pointed out how the state government in action was causing troubles to several drivers and operators.
Since last four days, RTOs have stopped registration of new buses and taxis without tracking device and panic buttons. They had also refused to renew fitness certificates to buses belonging to BEST and the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC). Even black-and-yellow cabs, and app-based cabs were not issued fitness certificate since more than four days.
Meanwhile, writing letters to transport authorities, taxi unions that represent drivers of black-and-yellow cabs, have strongly opposed the transport ministry’s move to make it mandatory for all taxis to have a Vehicle Tracking System (VTS) and panic buttons.
It learnt from BEST officials that Tardeo RTO on Tuesday returned their 20 buses, which were sent for fitness renewal. Since the, the undertaking has stopped sending buses for fitness renewal. Confirming this, Hanumant Gophane, public relations officer of BEST, said that they have already started tendering process for tracking system, but it will take few months for installation.