Delhi govt directs to install GPS tracking in all autorickshaws | Latest News Delhi

The transport department has directed all autorickshaw drivers in the city to ensure that the Global Positioning System (GPS) used to track the location of their vehicles is in a functional condition. Otherwise, drivers will be penalized, officials familiar with the matter said Friday.

However, several autorickshaw drivers said that the GPS has been a non-functional part of the vehicle for years and has not helped in any case of vehicle theft. (PTI) {{^userSubscribed}} {{/userSubscribed}} {{^userSubscribed}} {{/userSubscribed}}

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The move comes in the backdrop of numerous complaints from autorickshaw drivers who do not calculate the fare as per the government-mandated meter reading, which shows the total fare based on the distance traveled, an official familiar with the matter said.

The GPS in the vehicle works with a SIM card in the meter box of every autorickshaw. According to officials, the city’s over 90,000 motorists have been asked to check if the system is not working and have it replaced.

The task of checking and replacing the GPS in the vehicles has been given to Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) Limited, which also operates Delhi’s cluster bus service. It regularly checks the system as part of the process of obtaining the fitness certificate. Autorickshaws not older than five years must obtain the fitness certificate every two years, while older ones must obtain it regularly.

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However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ministry has not done this for the last three years, officials said.

“Post Covid-19, the Auto Rickshaw Unit (ARU) has stopped checking GPS functionality in autorickshaws during fitness checks. For this reason, the GPS in many cars is currently not functional. “Drivers do not have to pay anything for the test,” said a senior transport ministry official, asking not to be named.

Currently, only about 10,000 autorickshaws have active internet cards through which they use GPS.

The system helps ensure the safety of commuters by tracking the movement of the vehicle and also checking whether the meter is in use, officials said.

“The transport department has started making GPS functional in autorickshaws after receiving complaints about motorists not adhering to the meter. This will help track the status of odometers of cars on our dashboard,” another transport department official said.

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However, several autorickshaw drivers said that the GPS has been a non-functional part of the vehicle for years and has not helped in any case of vehicle theft.

“We have submitted a letter to the department demanding that this unnecessary harassment be stopped. The GPS never helped us and stolen cars were never recovered even if they had a working GPS. Officials also told many drivers during fitness checks that GPS testing was no longer required. Now drivers have to waste an entire day to get this done,” said NS Mansoori, president of NCR Auto Taxi Transport Federation in Delhi.

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Commuters, on the other hand, said that autorickshaw drivers never charge by the meter.

“Whether there is a GPS or not has no influence because drivers never use the measuring device anyway. When we ask for the meter reading, they refuse to continue the journey,” said Namita Relan, a student of Delhi University.

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