Only 31% of autos have working GPS

The Delhi government had made functional GPS mandatory in autos and taxis in 2009.

NEW DELHI: If you are travel by auto rickshaw in Delhi, there is almost a 70% chance that your ride is not safe. Nine years since the Delhi government made it mandatory for all autos and taxis in the capital to have GPS devices, only 31% of autos and 18% of taxis have functional GPS devices that can be tracked, a transport department report reveals.

Only 31% of autos have working GPS

Only 31% of autos have working GPS

The Delhi government had made functional GPS mandatory in autos and taxis in 2009. In fact, all public vehicles including buses, gramin sewa vehicles etc plying under transport department permit must have GPS devices. The data makes it clear that Delhi government has failed to rein in errant auto and taxi drivers, despite promises of a crackdown.

The transport department had in January this year set up an operations control centre, from where all public service vehicles can be tracked through GPS. The department’s data reveals that only 29% of public service vehicles, which include private buses, Gramin Sewa vehicles, school buses and vans, have GPS devices that can be tracked. The data excludes app-based cabs, for whom a policy is being for mulated.

Automatic system to fix errant drivers from October

In February this year, the transport department had put up a public notice and sent nearly one lakh SMSes to individual vehicle owners to get GPS devices functional by February 15. It planned to crack down on vehicles that were not following the rule and slap a hefty fine of Rs 5,000.

It has been six months since then and the department’s ambitious plan seems to have fizzled out. The public notice and reminders were working initially as the number of vehicles with functional GPS had seen a spike but it is almost back to square one now.

“We plan to take action against vehicle owners not following the rules but it is simply not possible to manually prosecute so many vehicles. As a way out, we had planned to set up a completely automatic system but that is yet to start functioning,” said a transport department official.

The official said the plan was to start sending electronic challans to errant vehicles from August 1. But the application couldn’t be prepared in time and has many shortfalls. The idea was that Echallans would be sent and owners could have paid the amount online or when they come for annual fitness checks,” he said.

All is not lost though. The department hopes that its application would be up and running by October and the promised crackdown would finally begin. “A workshop is being held on the issue this week and we are raring to start prosecuting vehicles violating permit conditions from next month,” he said.

As part of the permit conditions, owners of these vehicles are not only required to fit GPS devices in the vehicles but also maintain them in working condition. Even if a vehicle is stationary or parked, and there is no signal from the vehicle’s GPS device, it is considered non-activation of Global Positioning System (GPS).

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