Drivers getting gender empathy training

Drivers getting gender empathy training

Recently, a drunk cab driver attempted to kidnap an airport-bound passenger. She raised an alarm and managed to escape. The driver was arrested later. PIC FOR REPRESENTATION ONLY

A drunk Ola driver was arrested last week in Bengaluru after he allegedly tried kidnapping an airport-bound passenger. This is the second incident in a month and on the same route. Earlier, a woman was forced to undress while the driver took pictures of her. How safe are passengers on board if such incidences are not taken under control?

We got in touch with cab aggregators to understand their screening process and how they deal with errant drivers. A spokesperson from Ola says all drivers go through a verification process which includes e-verification, using Aadhar biometric technology. “Authorisation by the government to drive commercial vehicles, validated with a public-service vehicle badge, is a must before a driver-partner is hired,” says the spokesperson. The aggregators make sure they have a police background verification certificate in hand.

Tanveer Pasha, president of Ola, Taxiforsure and Uber drivers and Owners Association, says, “In 2011, when cab services worked through call centres, we hardly saw any such incidents. With the coming of app-based cab aggregators, the crime rates are soaring. Companies like Ola and Uber should take prompt and strict action against drivers who misbehave with customers.” He recommends original driver documents, such as licences and police verification certificates, be kept with the company. “Cabs should have three main features: a panic button, a fully- functional GPS tracking system and an SOS button in the app,” says Pasha. The Ola spokesperson says the company is implementing all recommended safety measures to avoid untoward situations in future. “Recently, we launched ‘Street Safe’, which supports the government’s agenda to reduce road fatalities by 50 per cent by 2020,” says the spokesperson. The company has also introduced gender sensitivity training, which means drivers are taught to be respectful towards women. They are also given eye check-ups and first-responder training. “We are planning to cover one million driver- partners,” the spokesman told Metrolife.

The company is also putting up stickers in all cabs to tell riders how they can disable the child lock. Vandana Suri, co-founder of Taxshe, says, “Amid the price war between Ola and Uber, the quality of people getting into the system is coming down. Lower rates for drivers have increased frustration among them. This leads to negative behaviour.” She says there should be more women drivers on the road so that women commuters feel more secure. TaxShe partners only with women drivers. Uber did not respond to questions in time for this story. 

If you are in danger inside a cab...
- Don’t lose your presence of mind: bang on the window to get public attention.
- Carry pepper spray or a knife. Spray your deodorant directly in the eye of the assaulter, if nothing else is handy.
- Use the metal part of the headrest to break the glass.

You can disable child lock
- As soon as you open the door, you will find the physical childlock facility on the side of the door. Check for it as soon as you get into the car. Push the knob right to left to unlock it. That way, the driver can’t confine you.

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