Bengaluru: Durga buttons in buses for women’s safety

Bengaluru: Even as cab aggregators are reluctant to fix the mandatory panic buttons, the public transport BMTC has taken a leap and installed panic buttons, or 'Durga alarms’, in BMTC buses to make the public transport safer for women. 

Women have been under the onslaught of physical harassment both in private and public transport recently and there have been efforts to ensure safety when women are out in public. About 150 buses have been fitted with panic alarms, said a senior BMTC official. 

The officer said that when the button is pressed, it creates a loud noise and a hooter placed on top of the bus starts flashing. This not only alerts passengers inside the bus, but also passersby outside and draws their attention, he explained. Four panic buttons are placed on either side of the bus, where the seats are reserved for women.      

These buttons can be easily accessed by women and children. A graphic pasted inside the bus describes the functions of the alarm, in Kannada and English. 

Once the button is pressed, the driver has to stop the bus immediately  and try to resolve the issue. If the driver cannot, then senior BMTC officials should intervene. In 2015, Durga Buttons were installed in five buses as a pilot project. During the trial, majority of the issues have been settled by co-passengers by either throwing out the perpetrators or taking them to the police station, the officer said.  

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