Inside a large room in traffic police’s headquarters at west Delhi’s Todapur, a team of over 20 police personnel keep a hawk’s eye on the traffic situation across the capital, field calls from hapless commuters and provide updates on social media about waterlogged and choked roads.
This is the Public Interface Unit (PIU) of traffic police which, as the name suggests, acts as a bridge between the lakhs of commuters on Delhi’s roads and the 6,000 strong traffic police unit. The unit handles the perpetually-ringing traffic helpline, as well as keeps commuters updated on the traffic situation via Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.
The team of 22 personnel works across 24-hour shifts. With inputs from policemen on the field, they apprise commuters about traffic jams, waterlogged roads, roadblocks and malfunctioning traffic signals.
The traffic police helpline — 011-25844444 — is manned by 10 police personnel 24×7 and gets over 1,200 calls a day. “We respond to each and every query by a commuter… sometimes we get information from commuters as well,” said Sudesh Nain, a sub-inspector.
His colleague and fellow SI Naveen Kumar said, “When commuters tell us about a bus breaking down or traffic congestion at a particular spot, we immediately inform our control room, which alerts traffic officials in that area,” said SI Naveen Kumar.
The policemen have strict instructions not to lose their temper while responding to calls or messages by angry commuters, said Inspector Satvir Singh, who is in charge of the team.
The PIU is equally active on Facebook, Twitter and Facebook, said officials.
While there are days when as many as 100 replies and updates are posted on social media accounts, it is traffic police’s WhatsApp number — 8750871493 — which is the most active, with over 300 messages exchanged daily.