July 11, 2011

Struth! GPS to Guide Delhi's Rickshaws

IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says that drivers are up in arms, but passengers are delighted, with a decision by authorities in New Delhi to order that satellite navigation devices be fitted to all of the city's 55,000 motorised rickshaws.

It's being done to reduce the number of disputes over whether drivers have taken the shortest route possible to their destinations, with the first twenty-five GPS devices being installed on a trial basis this week, and laws coming into force at the end of July making it mandatory for all rickshaws to be similarly fitted.

Passengers, in particular Indians from out of town and tourists, have complained for years about being taken on unnecessarily circuitous routes, so the new devices will be connected to a government monitoring centre in which officials will be able to record routes taken by the rickshaw drivers in the event of a dispute.

The satellite navigation systems will also come with a panic button for female passengers to instantly alert police if they feel threatened or harassed.

Drivers who say they can't afford to buy one of the GPS devices will be able to rent them from the government for a small monthly fee.

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