The Delhi Government has issued a number of directions for strengthening the public transport system in the Capital to enhance safety and security of commuters in general and women in particular.

Transport Minister Ramakant Goswami said directions have been issued to increase the duration and frequency of various modes of public transport in order to provide safe travel to women.

He had recently convened a meeting of senior officials of the Transport Department and the Delhi Transport Corporation to discuss the issue.

The Minister said the DTC has been told to augment its night service to provide connectivity to more places and colonies. “The Delhi Police will also be requested to provide security in buses operating at night,” he said.

While regular bus service of the DTC and the cluster services remain in operation from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., the Corporation also runs night services on selected routes connecting the airport, railway stations and ISBTs.

The Government has also told the Transport Department to urge the Delhi Metro to extend its services till 12 midnight for the convenience of commuters, many of whom work till late in the evening.

The Minister has also directed the Transport Department to ensure that the global positioning system was installed in all the public service vehicles. “It should be further ensured that the GPS thus installed is kept on at all times by the vehicle owner,” he said.

Stating that the terms and conditions of the permits would be suitably modified to ensure that the directions issued with respect to the GPS were complied with, the Minister said any fiddling with the system would invite serious action including impounding of the vehicle.

The Transport Department has also been told to immediately operationalise the GPS system in autos and in Gramin Sewa vehicles. The system already exists in DTC low-floor buses and cluster buses.

The Transport Department has also been told to intensify checking of public service vehicle badges issued to drivers of such modes of transport. The Minister said action, including impounding of vehicles and heavy fine, will be taken in case drivers driving the public service vehicles were found without their PSV badges.

The Department has also been told to put up the list of persons having PSV badges on its website so that the permit holders or employers can check beforehand if the person they are about to employ for a public vehicle has a valid badge.

Pointing out that police verification is done before PSV badges are issued, the Minister said if the permit holders would still employ any person without a valid PSV badge, issued by the Delhi Government, then he or she would also be liable to civil as well as criminal action as provided under various laws.

The Transport Department has also been told to develop a webpage through which the owners of public service vehicles would be able to update details of the driver, conductor or other persons employed by them on their vehicles.

The Minister said clear instructions have also been issued to all the PSV vehicles to remove curtains and tinted glasses. The permit condition would now also mandate fully internal white lighting inside the bus so that it remains visible from outside and it is also easy for the police to see within during checking.

This assumes significance as in the recent gang-rape case the victim was assaulted in a contract carriage bus which had tinted glasses.

In light of this, the Delhi Traffic Police and the Transport Department have also been directed to ensure that no contract carriage vehicle – that carry passengers from point to point as in school buses – is to be used as stage carriage vehicle, which have varying fares and pick up passengers along the way.

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