Will tear your clothes if you don't leave: Uber driver

Bengaluru girl is accused of being drunk and harassed by an Uber cab driver

Uber and Ola are the key players of the app-based cab and auto rickshaw booking services in India. (File Photos)

There is an illusion of safety with app-based transportation. However, recent evidence is much to the contrary. Uber and Ola are facing backlash from riders over the issue of safety.

The latest incident involves Aparna Balachander in Bengaluru. She hailed an Uber cab late Saturday and was threatened by the driver, abandoned on a road in the middle of the night and received a poor response from Uber when she sent an emergency alert.

Here's what happened:

Aparna booked an Uber on Aug. 3 after dinner with her colleagues. The cab driver, who was initially on a call, turned to her and "advised" her that women shouldn't leave late from work and also shouldn't drink. Appalled and scared, Aparna denied that she was drunk and pressed the safety icon on the app, to alert Uber about her situation. Instead of calling her, however, customer care called the driver. The driver told them that she was "extremely drunk".

"At this point, I had no choice but to start screaming asking the customer care to listen to me. The woman on the call spoke to me and I cried begging her to help me. She told me to get out of the cab and that she will book me another one immediately," said Aparna in a Twitter post.

"Meanwhile, this cab driver started threatening me with things like 'I will tear your clothes if you don't leave the cab now.' As I got down at 11.15 in the night at a not so busy road, I was waiting for a call from the customer care and also for my backup cab. I was terrified that the cab driver would come back to hit me," she said. Aparna then called up friends for help after waiting 15 minutes for support from Uber, who refunded her money instead of sending help.

"I am raising this issue not only because I am terrified by my experience but also because the 'safety' system of Uber is extremely messed up," said Aparna in the tweet. She also tagged Bengaluru Police in the tweet.

 

Aparna shared images of her chat with Uber support in another tweet saying, "The entire day I haven't received a single call despite following up with you about my traumatic experience. Why do I have to keep following up for something so serious? #UnsafeUber #NotSoUber #Uber."

Uber support replied that they 'tried' contacting her. But Aparna claims that she did not receive any calls.

Aparna's experience not unique

Multiple issues with rider safety have surfaced in the past couple of days.

Concerns over Ola cab rider safety have also increased. 

The apps' illusion of safety relies on tracking systems, safety buttons and instant support mechanisms. In practice, however, are riders really safe? The support and aid from customer care also appears to insufficient and incredibly delayed.

DH reached out to Aparna but she has not yet responded to our request for comments.

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