Istanbul introduces ‘panic button’ in taxis

Due to an increase in attacks on taxi drivers, a “panic button” feature is being implemented in Istanbul as a new safety measure.

The project, initiated by the Istanbul Municipality has been tested comprehensively throughout June.

The initiative aims to enhance the safety of taxi drivers, who face significant risks on the job.

Taxi driver Birol Güneş explained the system and stated, “In this system, there is a panic button for when there is an altercation with the passenger in the car. When you press the panic button,it lights up as ‘TAXI S.O.S.’ Thus, the police units and the Istanbul Municipality are notified.”

“When it is reported, the nearest teams, either police or gendarmerie depending on which is closer, come to the scene.”

Driver Necati Kara emphasized the importance of the system and noted, “For us taxi drivers, as you know, our safety may be in trouble. We are confronted with all kinds of customers. I think this system is very good.”

The need for the project stems from a rise in theft, extortion, injury and death incidents involving taxi drivers.

Various studies and efforts over the past 15 years by associations and non-governmental organizations have sought to implement such safety measures, but implementation is often stalled.

The municipality’s initiative, made compulsory on Jan. 12, includes integrating all taxis in Istanbul into this system.

The panic button, once pressed, alerts police and gendarmerie promptly. Additionally, the system will feature a camera with instant image transfer capabilities for enhanced security.

Günes elaborated on the process for taxis to acquire the feature.

“You make an appointment and go to the municipality’s facility in Bağcılar. When your turn comes, everything such as overhead lights and panic buttons are installed. When the integration is operational, the system will be operational,” he said.

Another taxi driver, Yakup Uralcı, while expressing his approval also suggested that glass panels separating the driver from the customer should also be installed as an additional measure.

Source: hurriyetdailynews

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