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False alerts force CR to drop ‘panic’ button from trains

False alerts force CR to drop ‘panic’ button from trains
False alerts force CR to drop 'panic' button from trains

The ‘panic’ button on a local train (left)

Less than two months after Central Railway decided to installed the first panic button in a ladies coach, the railway authority is contemplating on putting the plan on hold after receiving a series of ‘false’ panic alerts.

Back in May 2016, CR had installed a panic button in the ladies coach of a Harbour line train in a bid to provide better security to female passengers.

More panic buttons were supposed to be installed in other rakes by June end, but CR has reportedly decided not to do it citing the high number of frivolous complaints.

A CR official also confirmed to a leading daily that the plan has been put on hold and authorities are more keen on learning the impact that the first one has had before taking the plan ahead.

The biggest concern for railways is the fact that panic buttons have affected the regular flow of trains. Over the last one month alone, multiple incidents have forced trains to return to the previous station after the panic button was pressed, thereby delaying the subsequent trains.

Sachin Bhalode, Divisional Railway Security Commissioner for Central Railway also confirmed that since the button’s installation in May, they have not received a single genuine complaint from a commuter. However, over half a dozen fake ones have been recorded.

While the button clearly denotes its importance and explains when/how commuters should use it, they are either unable to understand it’s working or a bunch of miscreants are at play.

Although CR may be justified in taking a step back until it can ensure proper usage of the button, female commuters will have to bear the brunt of the decision and continue relying on calling the RPF helpline in case of emergencies.

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