A couple of weeks ago, Vivek Kumar was in north Chennai when he received a text message alert from the Chennai City Traffic Police. The message read that there was a bus breakdown in Tondiarpet due to which there was traffic congestion in the area. He called his friend residing in the locality, confirmed the information and immediately took a detour.
For the last 15 days subscribers like Mr. Kumar have not been receiving traffic alerts. “On rainy days, there are more traffic congestions and route diversions. This is when the SMS facility would have been very useful,” says Mr. Kumar.
The city police have not been able to send out bulk SMS in view of the restriction imposed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). “The Delhi Police has tied up with the same agency for sending alerts. We will write to TRAI to get the clearance for sending messages,” said Sanjay Arora, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic). However, the Facebook and FM alerts continue to be active, he adds.
On a submission made by Delhi Traffic Police, TRAI exempted it from the 200 SMS per day norm under the ‘Traffic Alert Service' and ‘Traffic SMS Service.'
“Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad traffic police groups have already written to TRAI seeking exemption,” says Ravi Sundararajan, Vice President (Marketing) of SMS GupShup, the Mumbai-based firm behind the traffic alert service.
The SMS alert facility has been a boon to many in the city as the subscribers are often alerted about the traffic situation on various arterial roads in the city and it helps them plan their routes accordingly.