Proxy drivers

After horrific incident when 25-year-old woman was raped and sexually assaulted by an Uber driver Shiv Kumar Yadav in national capital, measures were taken to spruce up security. One such was adding layers of security verification processes including criminal background check.

Once verified, the driver is registered with a taxi aggregator and you know the details including photo of the registered driver. Now, the processes go down the drain when the driver coming to pick you up isn't the one who is registered.

The recent Bengaluru incident wherein the passenger had to hide in a hospital at 2AM to escape sexual assault by an Ola driver has led to shocking revelations. The driver who assaulted the woman in Bengaluru is a proxy who impersonated the former driver by using his ID, and police verification documents. So, next time you take a trip, check the photo of the driver and then look at that face clearly just to be sure.  

Tracking the ride at all times

Taxi aggregators like Uber let you share your ride details so that your loved ones can track your ride. When an unexpected incident takes place, the last thing on your mind is to reach out to your mobile phone and open the app and report. Both Ola and Uber should make it mandatory to implement a push button inside the vehicle, which will alert the company and the rider’s dear ones about the whereabouts.

A reporting system

Taxi aggregators have made it possible to report a bad ride experience and put out categories to choose from such as unprofessionalism, incorrect fares and so on. However, the response to these complaints is often brushed off by standard replies regarding refunds and a feedback to the training team, or so on. A further dialogue is often slapped with a standard response saying 'the issue has been resolved' (usually seen when complained to Uber). So, there is no further scope of pressing the matter.

These complaints are a cue to the bad driver behaviour and how they can be potential future threats. However, the companies don't seem to take it seriously, and even if they do, there is no transparency maintained so that the passengers could feel assured.

Online payment

Not related to safety, but as we talk about the tech advancements, online payment option remains a crucial element. While online payments have put an end to the menace of extending exact change, especially in the wake of demonetisation, there are still a few creases that need to be ironed. For instance, in Bengaluru, drivers often insist on passengers paying the toll, which is paid in cash. The toll money is again added to the fare. Though aggregators promptly return the money into your account when told about the issue, there is the possibility that some passengers are unaware about this. There is no popup or any indication that tells passengers about this when a toll booth arrives.