Female train commuters in distress can now seek immediate police assistance at the touch of a button -- courtesy a mobile app launched here on Friday by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.
Designed in-house by the Eastern Railway (ER), the app - Railway Mobile Instant Tracking Response and Assistance (R-MITRA) - immediately sends alerts to the nearest Railway Protection Force (RPF) inspector as well as the Divisional Security Control Room (DSCR) providing location as well as the identity of the victim.
"As soon as a female commuter in any kind of distress, presses the emergency button on the app, her identification and her location will be immediately sent to the nearest RPF inspector and the DSCR who can then immediately take adequate response," ER general manager R.K. Gupta said.
"Since the commuter will be on the move, the app will alert the RPF personnel at the next two stations. Using GPS and GPRS, the location of the woman in distress can be tracked in real-time at the DSCR," said Gupta.
The app can also be used to send photos of the assaulter as well as to communicate with the railway authorities through messages or call.
It works both online and offline and is currently available for android users only -- but the ER is working on extending the facility to IOS phones.
Available now only to passengers of suburban trains services on Eastern Railway, the facility will be extended to other divisions as well as the South Eastern Railway, Gupta said.
Describing passengers safety as one of the biggest challenges of the railways, Prabhu said technology can help the national carrier in providing better security.
"Railways carry about 2.7 crore to three crore commuters daily and having adequate police-commuter ratio is not possible. Technology has a large part to play in bridging the gap and we are happy to have developed this app in such a short span of time," said Prabhu.