Istanbul public buses get panic buttons

A close up of the panic button Image copyright IETT
Image caption Istanbul's busy Metrobus route - where buses run in segregated lanes - is the first to get panic buttons

Istanbul's public transport operator has started fitting buses with panic buttons in an attempt to improve passenger safety.

Buses running on the city's major Metrobus route, which carries about 700,000 passengers per day, are the first to have the buttons installed, the Daily Sabah website reports. Hitting the alarm alerts a central control room and transmits a live feed from security cameras filming inside the vehicle.

"Once a passenger pushes the button we can see what is happening on the screens in the centre, and we can also determine the vehicle and its location in the system so police can intervene," says Hasan Celikdelen from IETT, the city's transport company. "We also have an emergency button for our drivers."

Passengers who spoke to the IHA news agency welcomed the move, with one man describing it as "a form of protection" for travellers. A female passenger agrees, saying: "We are living through unbelievable events, and if something also happens to me I will use the panic button... I believe it needs to exist."

Turkey's government is working on a proposal to make panic buttons mandatory on public transport, after the brutal killing of a 20-year-old university student last year. Ozegecan Aslan was on her way home in a minibus when she was stabbed to death while resisting an attempted rape. Three men, including the bus driver, were given life sentences for her murder in December.

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