- Layers of security verification processes go in vain with proxy drivers.
- Uber and Ola should take cues from daily complaints to vet drivers.
- If action is being taken, there needs to be transparency.
Earlier this week two incidents were simultaneously reported wherein an Ola driver forced a woman into a car to ‘befriend and molest’ in Mumbai while the other driver in Bengaluru took a diversion to a deserted road and began grabbing the lady passenger.
And, let's not forget the horrific incident when 25-year-old woman was raped and sexually assaulted by an Uber driver Shiv Kumar Yadav in national capital.
One of the recent incidents is highlighted in a Facebook post by a Delhi girl accusing the Uber driver of misbehaving in broad daylight and then calling her up as an executive, clearly hinting at what these drivers are capable when a woman is in a vulnerable situation. Another Uber driver threatened to rape the passenger and dump her body, claiming he had done it many times.
On day-to-day basis, there could be several complaints about a driver, ranging from rude and bad behaviour to aggression and abusive language. It is these complaints against the driver that should be cue about the behaviour. On contrary, if you've ever tried complaining about a driver's bad behaviour, it is often met with standard responses. Using Uber for daily commute, my complains are often met with standard replies which would mean sealing the matter with refund and assurance that the training team will be informed about the matter. There is no transparency over the action taken, and so we don’t know if an action has been taken.
For some of us (read me) who use these taxi aggregators for our daily commute, this is a matter of concern. With no customer care support numbers, Uber has ensured that no passenger reaches them on call when in distress.
Now, what's even more alarming is the can of worms that the latest Ola incident has opened. To begin with, the accused driver and the registered driver aren't the same.
The driver who assaulted the woman in Bengaluru is a proxy who impersonated the former driver by using his ID, and police verification documents. Both the owner of the vehicle and the driver has been arrested. Some Ola officials are also said to be hand in glove as the duo reportedly manipulated officials to fabricate the records in this case.
City police commissioner Praveen Sood reportedly said, "What I have learnt from the officers is that Ola or the owner of the car didn't inform us about the driver's impersonation. The owner had also visited the Ola office after the incident. So, we'll be taking action against Ola."
The story unfolded as Ravi Kumar was arrested by the police after the complaint, who later denied that he was off services for about three months. Proxy drivers are a big security lapse. So, passengers now have an additional; task of checking if the photo of the driver on the app matches the one who has arrived to pick you. Many would agree, there have been instances when they don't match.
Taxis were introduced as safer options with the ability to track a ride, but the incidents in the past show how that doesn’t really help. An SOS button in the cab was heard of, but how many cabs actually come with a manual button? Teams are set to address critical issues and layers of security verification processes are added, which includes criminal background check. But, it’s all in vain as these layers are camouflaged by some irresponsible owners, drivers and company executives.
The sophisticated software and all the training cannot make the city safer for women, it’s time Ola and Uber add some stringent rules, not just on paper, but also implement them.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:54 PM IST