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Smart cards to protect Thane commuters from rogue auto drivers

Traffic cops affix smart identity cards in 5,000 autos, using which a commuter can access the driver’s details and forward it to friends and family in case of emergency

Goaded by the recent incident wherein software engineer Swapnali Lad jumped out of a speeding auto at Wagle Estate in Thane after its driver changed the route and refused to stop, the traffic police department affixed 5,000 smart identity cards in autos for the safety of passengers.

Traffic police officials and auto drivers display dummies of the smart identity cards that were installed yesterday. Pic/Sameer Markande
Traffic police officials and auto drivers display dummies of the smart identity cards that were installed yesterday. Pic/Sameer Markande

Commenting on the initiative, Traffic Commissioner (Thane) Vijay Kamble said, “The smart identity card will have basic details about the auto driver and a QR code. The postcard-sized card will be affixed behind the backrest of the driver’s seat facing passengers. To read the QR code, commuters can download an application called Safe Journey on their Android phone.

Scanning the QR code through the app will give users details such as the driver’s name, photo, registration number, permit number and cellphone number. These details will come in handy if a passenger feels that the driver is playing foul or trying to fleece them,” said Kamble.

Pepper and Ink Technologies LLP developed the software and application for the Thane traffic police. “We plan to take this drive to Mumbai and are in talks with the Mumbai police,” said Niranjan Gosavi, the firm’s director. Commenting on the utility of the software, Jt CP (Traffic) V V Laxminarayan said it will also help the department keep a tab on auto drivers.

“Documents will be rechecked before a smart card is installed in an auto. Those having these cards installed will be marked with a yellow strip. In the future, we will be appealing to people to travel only in those autos that have these strips. The strips will signify that the autos and their drivers have been verified by the police,” he added.

The police plan to install smart cards in around 25,000 auto rickshaws plying in Dombivli, Thane, Kalyan and Ulhasnagar in the near future.

How does the card work?
>> The smart identity card will be affixed to the backrest of the driver’s seat 
>> It will contain basic info abut the driver, the vehicle and a QR code
>> QR code will contain details of the driver: name, photo and registr-ation, permit and phone numbers 
>> It can be read using an app, Safe Journey, which can be downloaded by Android phone users 
>> Passengers can immediately forward this info to friends or family in case they feel the driver is playing foul 
>> The information can later be used against the driver to bring him to book if he is guilty

25,000
The number of smart cards the police plan to install in autos in Dombivli, Thane, Kalyan and Ulhasnagar

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