The Delhi Taxis’ Union has threatened to launch a series of protest if government does not withdraw its decision immediately.
So here we go again. A couple of years ago they said that all rickshaws should have GPS, but it transpired that the operators could not afford the cheapest solution available and if I remember correctly, it was too expensive.
My questions though are about how this will protect women passengers. Will there be a panic switch that the passenger in danger can access easily. The location would need to be clearly marked and the driver would of course know where that location is. The driver also would need a panic switch in case of an accident or incident where they themselves are in danger. If they have radios, they may already have that feature without the location information. Traditional taxi alarms hold the communications channel open so that the call centre can hear everything being said in the can and the driver then only needs to make some sort of comment about where they are or where they are going.
The GPS devices, can be very low cost. Vodafone for example could provide devices in volume that connect to the ODB2 port in the taxi for well under $US100, complete with built in SIM Card. The extras would be the means of triggering the alarm (software and hardware) and an annual SMS subscription fee.
A smart taxi company would just invest in them, make sure they vet their staff very well, have a monitoring system in place that checks that all devices on taxis that are working, can be seen on a map, then market aggressively saying that they are a safe company for passengers to drive with. They could even get Government Support in this marketing as a reward for being the first cab off the rank with this service.
The risk, which is why it needs to be monitored in real time is that a taxi driver doing something or being somewhere they shouldn’t, s likely to interfere with the GPS antenna. As in previous blogs I have given the example of people who wrapped their GPS antenna in aluminum foil, blocking the signal of the GPS. We were however onto that trick and consistent offenders no longer work for that company.