BENGALURU: On Monday, the transport department disabled child locks of around 1,600 cabs in the city. The deadline for the move was set as January 16 in the wake of the safety of women passengers. Though women are celebrating the move, parents are worried that this could affect their child’s safety as children can now easily open doors of a moving car.
Keerthana Prakash, a 26-year-old IT employee, said, “This is a huge move towards ensuring that we are safe because in an IT city like Bengaluru, regardless of gender, there are days when we have to work late night and cabs come handy to travel at those odd hours. So disabling the vehicle’s child lock can help us be more confident in approaching taxis.”
“It’s a good day to celebrate Sankranti after the transport department finally stuck to its deadline. Being a woman, I can now say that I can travel in a cab with the assurance that I am safer than I was a few days ago,” said Chesna Ann John, a business analyst who works in Manyata Tech Park. She further added that this move can help women be more independent to use cabs past 10 pm after clubbing.
Chesna’s friend Anila George also shared a similar view. “Earlier, we needed to have a male friend along with us to ensure that the cabs, we boarded, were safe and we would give them a call to inform that we are safe as soon as we reach home. With child locks, there is no room to escape and we have to travel in constant fear while using a private company’s share cabs as there could be other men travelling with us,” she said. However, a few couples feel that this move, though ensures better safety for women, could also be dangerous for their children.
A couple, speaking to City Express on grounds of anonymity, said that while they agree that this may help to make women feel safer in the city, it could also lead children travelling in cabs to easily open the doors of the moving vehicle. “Child locks are specially designed to keep children out of danger because you never know what can happen in a fraction of a second,” said Chetana (name changed), a mother of a four-year-old daughter.
Keerthana, however, denied that disabling the lock may bring danger to anyone. “The child should be constantly monitored by the parents themselves. The larger picture shows that the child lock has been used by far for harassments and this is a cause for concern,” she pointed out.
The move followed a recent amendment to the Karnataka Motor Vehicle Act that forbids awarding of permits to cabs with child lock.