UP transport dept seeks funds from Centre for vehicle tracking system

Public service transport vehicles in Uttar Pradesh may soon be asked to get global positioning system (GPS) devices, along with panic buttons, fitted in them. The transport department has already started efforts to put in place a vehicle location tracking system (VLTS) in the state. “We have a sent a proposal to the Central government seeking funds to set up a control and command centre at the transport headquarters to operate the vehicle location tracking system to trace the location of any GPS-fitted public transport vehicle in real time and provide quick assistance to any passenger who is in crisis,” transport commissioner Dheeraj Sahu said.

He said over Rs 15 crore was needed to set up the control and command centre which, he clarified, would function independent of the one already being operated by the UP State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC). “The work on setting up the VLTS operation centre will begin soon after the Centre sanctions and provides the funds to us and after that all public transport vehicles will be asked, through a notice, to have a GPS device and at least one panic button in compliance with the Centre’s notification,” Sahu said. He said the police’s dial 112 service would also be integrated with VLTS so that police assistance, if needed, could reach the vehicle promptly.

A gazette notification, issued by the union ministry of road transport and highways in November 2016, mandated GPS device and panic buttons in all service vehicles and asked the states to set up control rooms to monitor movement of all such vehicles. The regulation covers all taxis, buses and other public transport vehicles and exempts two-wheelers, three-wheelers, e-rickshaws and all other vehicles that do not require a permit to ply. “The regulation came into effect on April 2018 but most of the states have not been able to comply with it so far due to various issues.

The Centre is now pressing states to do this quickly following which UP has sent the proposal for the funds,” transport department sources pointed out. Explaining the system, they said the GPS-fitted vehicles will be on the VLTS radar and a panic button pressed from it would immediately generate and transmit the alert to the VLTS operation centre that will ensure that help reaches the passenger immediately. “The system aims to ensure safety and security of women, students and other travelers, apart from responding to emergencies, including medical needs and curbing over-speeding,” they said.

UPSRTC does operate a VLTS to track movement of its own GPS-fitted buses, but the system often does not function and fails to find out the speed at which a bus was operating before meeting with an accident.

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