For a safe ride home

Additional Measure

For a safe ride home

There is no dearth of autorickshaws in the City that move around without the ‘mandatory’ display card with the driver’s details.

But without ensuring the proper implementation of that rule first, the government had recently announced another legislation to ‘step up’ security by making the same mandatory for cabs too.

“We have been proactive in customer security since the start and are a tech-enabled cab service, where customers are pre-informed about the driver’s name and phone number and the car number. This information is validated from our side since we keep updating this within our inventory of drivers, whom we train and ensure are up to the standard,” informs Anand Subramanian, corporate communication head, Ola Cabs.

He also points out that the new mandate is not legally binding on his company as it isn’t a city cab that can be hailed but one that must be pre-booked.

“We can’t do it because we don’t own the cabs — they belong to local operators or the drivers themselves. But we might go one step ahead and put the driver’s photograph in the app. To step up security, we also have the ‘Track Your Cab’ facility, through which the customer or anyone he or she gives the information to can track the movement of the cab in real time,” he adds.

Rajath Kedilaya, CEO of YourCabs, notes, “While we send our customers the details of the driver on SMS and through the app, we haven’t put the ID cards in the cabs yet. We’ve seen that in autos — the paper gets tattered and torn in a few months and there’s no way to know if the information is right or wrong. So, we prefer a digital format for the same.”

Jaya, a commuter, agrees with this point saying, “Every time I take an auto in the day or at night, I note down the auto number and text it to my parents. I don’t rely on the display card because you can hardly read it most of the time.”

“On the rare occasion that I have to hire a cab, I make sure it’s a service I’ve used before and forward the details of the car and driver to my parents immediately,” she adds.

Tracking and driver verification seem to be the best that most cab services can do to ensure safety.
“We do a police check and a proper verification of each driver, whose documents we keep. But there’s still no 100 per cent guarantee of how the driver is. We provide numbers to the customer
to contact us or the police directly. There’s also a GPS tracking system in each cab that alerts us if it is switched off or goes beyond a certain boundary. If we get negative feedback about any particular driver, we replace him immediately. Putting the display card can help only to a certain extent and has a limited usefulness. Our approach is to use more proactive ways of identifying problem areas,” states Rajath.

Aprameya Radhakrishna, founder and director of TaxiForSure, adds, “The government-approved ID cards are definitely welcome as they would help promote safe commute. As a precautionary measure, we have sent communication to all the operators and drivers associated with us to adhere to the norms set by the government. We have also started checking for the ID cards during the regular audits that we do for the vehicles in our network.”

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