Public transport to have exigency alert

Subhash Rajta

Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 20

Public transport vehicles (buses and taxis) are likely to become safer for passengers, especially for women and children, within next six months.

The Transport Department is working to set up a monitoring cell and integrate it with the Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) to provide a quick response to distress alerts emanating from public transport vehicles fitted with a vehicle location tracking device (VLTD) and emergency buttons. “Whenever a passenger presses the emergency button in a public transport vehicle, our monitoring cell will receive the alert and it will be passed on to the ERSS for immediate intervention,” says Hemis Negi, Additional Commissioner, Transport Department.

In view of the gruesome Nirbhaya murder case in Delhi in 2012, the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had issued instructions for the installation of VLTDs and multiple emergency buttons in all public transport vehicles. Later, the directions were amended and only vehicles registered on and after January 1, 2019, were to be fitted with these devices. “We have around 7,000 vehicles fitted with these devices at present. Depending on how the initiative works in these vehicles, the government can take a decision to install the equipment in the remaining vehicles, too,” says Negi.

Of late, the department has shown urgency in making this safety feature fully operational. Besides signing an MoU with the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for the implementation of the project, a team of the state Transport Department visited Kerala and Delhi some time ago to study the systems set up there. “Monitoring cells have been set up in these states but they have not yet been integrated with the ERSS. HP can be the first state to integrate the monitoring cell with the ERSS and make the facility effective,” he says.

“We have hired the Delhi Integrated Multi Modal Transit System (DIMTS) as consultant to help us to set up and implement the project,” he adds.

The Union Government is providing financial assistance under the Nirbhaya Framework to help the states with the infrastructure and make the project operational. “The estimated cost of the project is Rs 10.40 crore. The Union Government has released 90 per cent of the funds, and the state will bear the remaining 10 per cent,” says Negi.

The VLTD device can be used for several other purposes. “The device will also send out speed violation and route violation alerts. More add-on features can be provided, if required,” he adds.

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