Rasta to fix traffic problems

May 05, 2017

LAHORE -  City traffic police are going to introduce a smart-phone application named “Rasta” to help citizens and road users with real-time information related to traffic related issues.

The Punjab Information Technology Board is developing the latest mobile phone application with multiple features including traffic updates, e-ticketing, and online driving licenses facility for the applicants. The citizens will also be able to get information about “e-tests” or driving schools by using this application.

Lahore’s chief traffic officer Rai Ijaz Ahmed says the traffic police are going to provide smart solutions to the general public about traffic related problems with the help of latest digital technology. “We are working on various programmes to facilitate citizens and roads users in Lahore. The Punjab information technology board is helping our department in many ways,” the CTO said.

The latest initiative is part of the overall police upgrading in Lahore as per the vision of Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif who last year approved the multi-billion safe city project for six big cities of the province.

According to the chief traffic officer, the smart phones applications would educate citizens about the process to apply online for driving licenses with detailed information in English and Urdu. “Very soon, all traffic officers will be using latest tools to help citizens and roads users. Similarly, citizens will be able to get maximum information by using such apps,” said SSP Rai Ijaz Ahmed.

During a brief chat with The Nation, officer explained that the Lahore police in recent years introduced multiple initiatives to strengthen the law enforcement agency like digital operation rooms, local eye software, android phones, and crime-mapping application.

Under the supervision of Lahore CCPO Amin Wains, he said, the city traffic police department would go digital on vehicular traffic updates, e-ticketing, and driving schools. There would be no hand written applications for applicants of driving licenses (once the latest system is launched). The initial test will be held online and driving Learner Permits will be issued immediately. 

“So, anybody can apply by simply clicking the application. This will be a very transparent and hassle-free mechanism,” the officer said.

Traffic officers while giving details about the new smartphone app Rasta told this reporter that the users will be able to get prior information about the intended traffic routes before leaving for their destinations. Since the road users will switch to alternative routes in case of congestion, the traffic officers will regulate the flow of vehicular traffic on city roads in a better way.

 With the help of Google Maps traffic updates, the source and destination points will guide the users to avoid traffic mess.

Similarly, users will get information about the nearest banks, authorized to collect fine amount, via e-ticketing application to save their time. The e-Challan app will also allow the users to deposit the fine amount online by using ATM cards or mobile phone cards.

The citizens will also be able to collect information about nearest license centers, test centers and driving school as well. These applications will soon be available on the android and i-phones.

City traffic police department is also working to launch electronic ticketing system to replace manual challan books in the provincial metropolis. Under the e-challaning mechanism, traffic officers will issue challan tickets to violators digitally. The motorists will be able to pay the fine amount by using multiple electronic sources including credit cards, ATM cards, and mobile phone cards.

At present, the fine payment procedure is lengthy, complicated, and corruption-tainted as well. Citizens are bound to deposit the fine amount to a few designated bank branches to get back registration books of vehicles, driving licenses, or ID cards. Traffic officers routinely seize registration books or driving licenses after issuing challan tickets to the violators.

Motorists particularly those belonged to others cities of the Punjab province complained that they have to suffer a lot during bank holidays because of manual ticketing system. Since banks are closed in the evening, there is no way to deposit fine amount during the night hours.

CTO Rai Ijaz says the motorists will be using their swipe cards to be able to pay the fine amount on the spot. The POS machines will be connected with the main server of the Punjab Safe City Authority. This on-line device will also be connected with the Punjab Excise Department, Anti-Vehicle Lifting Staff, and driving license issuance management system, according to officials. In Lahore, more than 300 patrolling officers and 40 sector in-charges will be equipped with POS machines.

(The Nation)