Not many cabs near pubs on weekend nights? Blame it on drunk riders

Tipsy travellers come with a baggage of nuisance, say cab drivers

 A number of cab drivers in Bengaluru have stopped working on weekend nights as they think it’s too much to deal with drunk and unruly travellers returning from various watering holes.

As police become unsparing in penalising drunk drivers, partygoers are left with no
option but to choose private cabs.

Kantharaju, who drives a cab of a popular private cab chain, said, “After having seen a lot of people who puke and cannot handle themselves, I have decided not to work on weekend nights. Initially I was happy to get more rides. But it comes with a baggage of nuisance. It’s better to go for an alternative.”

Bharath has been working as a driver for the past four months. “Some commuters paid me extra for bearing with the problem. But others abused me when I tried to wake them at their destination,” he said. “The problem is not new. It is becoming more visible nowadays as more people are choosing cabs over other vehicles.”

Drivers’ woes

Bharath recalled how co-passengers in shared cabs once left in the middle of the journey after facing discomfort from drunk commuters.

“Passengers leave midway and do not even pay. Disgruntled passengers give me a bad rating. I can ask the passenger not to harm the fellow passengers. But they would not be in a state to comprehend anything. I cannot even leave them midway and go,” he said.

Muttanna, another driver, however, does not mind putting up with drunk passengers as he earns substantially well. “It’s certainly disgusting to put up with all this. It takes extra effort to bear with these people,” he said.

Co-passengers, too, have faced uncomfortable rides. One day, Sony Ahuja shopped on Brigade Road and then had to go to Shanthinagar to meet a friend. After waiting for a private cab for nearly 20 minutes, she decided to share a ride. She was in for a shock when she saw two drunk men as her co-passengers. One of them even made advances at her. She asked the driver to stop.

“The driver requested me to continue the journey as the men were supposed to get off near Baldwin School, which was less than 10 minutes from that place,” she said. But she got down and asked her friend to pick her up.

Ananya Modi, a regular partygoer, said, “There have been times when I have waited for more than half an hour to get a cab. At times, my friends drop me.”

Pradeep (name changed), a resident of Whitefield, admitted to being caught for drunk-driving but said he had cut down on alcohol consumption.

Although both drivers and passengers in shared cabs can register a complaint over these matters, cab-hailing firm Uber refused to reveal the number of complaints it has received from drivers and passengers.

“We take the driver feedback very seriously. We constantly review the ratings given by the driver. Riders violating our terms of service may be prevented from using Uber,” said a senior spokesperson for the company.

The problem is not restricted to private cabs. Even bars and restaurants seem to face the same issue.

An operational manager at a popular bar in Indiranagar said on condition ofanonymity, “Our bar caters to the niche category. The crowd which could create major ruckus actually filters out. But we, too, have faced problems in driving people out. The problem becomes serious when all friends are drunk.”

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