Policy mandates a glass or metal mesh between the driver and back seats.
New Delhi: In a move aimed at making traveling in taxis safe and comfortable for women, the ministry of road transport and highways has made it mandatory for taxis across the country including app-based service providers to install “GPS panic devices” which will transmit “distress” signals to the nearest police stations or police control rooms in case of any untoward situation.
For safety, the new “taxi policy guidelines” mandate a glass or metal mesh between the driver and back seats. The guidelines also call for “disabling” central locking system so that a woman can escape in case of any trouble.
The move comes after recommendations from women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi to the ministry of road transport and highways. Ms Gangdi had received several complaints about women safety while traveling alone in taxis.
“I was deeply concerned after seeing the number of incidents where women passengers faced risky situations... Therefore, I decided to intervene and am happy that the ministry of roads and transport has accepted our recommendations relating to cab safety,” WCD minister Maneka Gandhi said.
The new safety points which have been included in taxi policy guidelines for “women safety” also make it mandatory for all taxis, including app-based service providers like Uber, Olacabs, Easycabs, Taxiforsure etc, to display vehicle number, driver’s photo ID and license number both inside and outside the cab. Significantly, the violation of guidelines will invoke strict action, including impounding of the vehicle.
Earlier, Ms Gandhi had met the cab operators to discuss the issue after she received complaints from women who had been molested or threatened in taxis.
“There was no grievance redressal system. The only thing the operators were doing was refunding the fare in case they received any complaint. The minister took up the issue with Nitin Gadkari, after which a committee was constituted on women safety in taxis and they accepted our recommendations,” said an official.
The ministry is expected to notify the guildelines soon.