Cabbies, transporters oppose GPS, panic button rule

Several transport groups have opposed the government's move to make a vehicle tracking device and panic button mandatory. DH file photo

Several transport groups, including private taxi operators and drivers who work with Ola and Uber, opposed the government's move to make a vehicle tracking device and panic button mandatory.

At a meeting called by Regional Transport Office on Friday, the groups came together and urged the department to set up the allied infrastructure like monitoring and control rooms necessary for implementing the rule.

The Union government has made the installation of devices mandatory for transport and commercial vehicles through a notification which became applicable in Karnataka on January 1. While the government said the measure seeks to enhance the safety of the passengers, the transporters raised some basic questions.

"There is no technology, knowledge and the monitoring system, no adequate personnel is hired, no set up for data collection or protecting customer privacy... We hope you will take serious action to stop (implementation) of this new order (sic)," said K Radhakrishna Holla, president of Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners Association.

Tanveer Pasha, representing a union of drivers working with Ola and Uber, said they walked out of the meeting called to demonstrate installation of the global positioning system (GPS) and panic button devices.

He said the department should first set up the necessary mechanism before forcing us to spend money on these devices.

"These devices are available for Rs 4,500 in the market. But the government is forcing us to shell out Rs 12,000. Necessary steps should be taken to make the devices affordable," he said.

Several associations, including bus owners and taxi owners, expressed concerns over the government implementing a measure without testing it on the field.

"Officials should first test the entire system, from the devices to the emergency response mechanism in the control room, before implementing the rule," they said.

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