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Old 23rd June 2016, 16:32   #661
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

No more surge pricing in Karnataka but more complaints on "fake trips" by cabbies :

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Several passengers say drivers start the ‘trip’ without picking them up; then after a few kilometres, they end the ‘trip’; and the money gets deducted from the would-be passenger’s e-wallet.
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Totally appalling. Why don't the aggregators come up with safeguards to prevent such abuse ?

Last edited by sdp1975 : 23rd June 2016 at 16:36.
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Old 23rd June 2016, 18:48   #662
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

It may be that, on the basis of early successes, drivers will get the idea that they can do whatever they want. If Ola/Uber/etc do not go on offering both value for money and basic reliability, their world will crash around their ears. They need to build this into their control of their drivers.
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Old 12th July 2016, 11:41   #663
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Default The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

Another cab aggregator getting ready to compete with Ola and Uber.

"Utoo" has launched in Chennai with few hundred cabs. With Ajay Piramal buying a stake recently, the service stands to differentiate itself with current competition by offering 'cars' with airbags while keeping the price at Rs. 6/km.

http://<br /> http://m.thehindubusin...0487.ece<br />

Last edited by balajisv : 12th July 2016 at 11:43.
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Old 12th July 2016, 12:19   #664
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

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Originally Posted by balajisv View Post
Another cab aggregator getting ready to compete with Ola and Uber.

"Utoo" has launched in Chennai with few hundred cabs. With Ajay Piramal buying a stake recently, the service stands to differentiate itself with current competition by offering 'cars' with airbags while keeping the price at Rs. 6/km.
Rather than advertising cars with airbags, they could have advertised cars with rear seat belts since most passengers sit in the rear seats and most passenger cars have only driver and front passenger airbags, not curtain airbags.
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Old 12th July 2016, 12:22   #665
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

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Originally Posted by sdp1975 View Post
No more surge pricing in Karnataka but more complaints on "fake trips" by cabbies :


Uber has come up with a simple but effective solution to the entire surge pricing fiasco. They now tell you the exact fare that you will be charged upfront, at the time of booking. This would obviously factor in the surge pricing calculations , however, you the user would not see the disturbing figure of 2X or 3X or 4X on your screen. Psychologically reassuring, but you end up paying the same high (surged) price.
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Old 2nd August 2016, 15:20   #666
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

Came across this article that i feel is relevant to share, especially for all those who use Uber regularly.

What happened when i pressed the Uber Panic Button

Uber and Ola have made things easy for us, working women. I can choose to stay back late at work, always aware that cabs are now available at the click of a button. I use both taxi aggregators often, but have a leaning towards Uber.

But on 4 July, I was gobsmacked when I took an Uber cab from the New Delhi railway station at night.

WHAT HAPPENED THAT DAY
It was 10:45 pm. I was aboard the Shatabdi, on my way back to Delhi from an out-of-town meeting. The train was delayed by 15 minutes.

My father had called me several times during the journey. "You have no idea how things work. You'll not get taxis at such odd hours," he said, persistent on picking me up. I refused every time, insisting that I am an adult, independent, working woman. He went on to instigate my husband. "I have to pick you up. Your dad will kill me if I don't," said my perturbed husband, clearly panic-stricken (thanks to my dad). I still refused.

So on Monday night, I got off the train, waved goodbye to my colleagues (assuring them that I can reach home on my own), all the while busy trying to book an Uber. The first cabbie cancelled the trip. "Hum Noida nai jayenge. Permit nai hai," he said on the phone. (I won't go to Noida. Do not have the permit for it.)

After the initial tussle of who'll cancel, the driver finally cancelled and I proceeded to book another Uber. After wading through the water-logged compounds (it rained in Delhi that day), the next driver picks me up from the station's entry point, near the Paharganj side. As I enter the cab, he starts the trip and finds out the destination is Noida.

"Oho, madam. Yeh to Noida hai. Mere gaadi mein gas (CNG) nai hai. Ya to aap doosra book karlo, ya fir raste mein kahin bharwa lenge," says the driver. He informs me about a CNG pump near Mayur Vihar.

I check my watch. Almost 11.30 pm. The GPS doesn't show too many Ola cabs around (Couldn't access Uber as my ride was on). My father's words ring in my ears.

"Thik hai, bhaiyya. Raaste mein bharwa lena. Par jyada time nai lena," I agree reluctantly. We move on.

THE UBER RIDE
After sometime, I realise the driver has missed the turn towards the gas pump and is heading off to a different direction. Objecting, I inform him that he's missed the turn.

"Haan, shayad galti ho gayi hai. Age se le lete hain turn," he says. (Yeah, maybe I made a mistake. Let's take the next turn).

Yet, willingly, he ignores two other alternative turns and keeps moving forward. I ask the driver to stop and ask passers-by how to reach the pump?

He slows down and gazes at passers-by, but never stops to get directions.

I further protest. "Arre bhaiya, kisi se rukkar puch to lijiye. Aise kya age bade ja rahen hain?" (Why are you still driving? Stop and ask someone.)

Reluctantly, he takes the next left turn and stops near an autowalla, inquiring for directions. Turns out, he's missed the first pump and the next pump lies further 10 km down the empty road.

I sense something is wrong. Why would he deliberately miss turns towards the CNG pump and choose a road that goes to a pump far away?

I warn him. "Bhaiyya, abhi aap turn kijiye. Aur wahan chaliye. Yahan nahi." (Stop right now and go back. Not here.)

"Koi baat nai, yahan bharwa lenge," he says. (No problem, let's fill up the tank from here).

I refuse. Protest. Ask him to turn back immediately.

He doesn't.

Panic-stricken, I ask again.

This time, he turns back to look at me and screams: "Haan sun liya maine. Kar rahan hun turn." (I heard you. I am turning).

Stunned, it takes me a moment to realise that the driver just screamed at me, almost threatened me. I freeze. The driver makes a U-turn and moves at an extremely slow pace, unwilling to go back to the earlier route.

Then, I make a mistake. I tell him I am calling the police. I shouldn't have told him that. Just dialed directly.

"Haan, haan, thik hai. Bulalo police ko," he mocks me. (Yeah okay. Call the police)

There was no doubt in my mind that the call had to be made immediately.

WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I HIT THE SOS BUTTON
Immediately, I look for the help button on my phone. A button on the Uber page says SOS. Takes a moment to locate. I click on it. It gives me two options. One of option indicates make an emergency call to the police. By this time, the driver has picked up speed.

I click on the call police option.

Instead of making a direct to call to police, my smartphone dialler screen opens up. Dial '100' comes up on screen. Irritated, I hit the dial button.

After two rings, a lady picks up on the phone. She asks me in a high Haryanvi accent, "Hanji, kaun bol raha hai? Kya problem hai." (Yes, who is speaking? What is the problem?)

I tell her my name and try to explain, in one short sentence, all the above.

She asks for my location.

I look out of the window. The cab is moving at high speed, crossing a flyover, near a metro station. The driver is listening to the entire conversation all this while.

I recognise the station, tell the lady on phone where I seem to be heading. She asks for more specific information.

I feel angry. Shouldn't the police control room read my location via automated GPS?

I try to explain again. She hears me out patiently, takes down the cab license number and hangs up.

Immediately after, I get another call. This time, it's a sophisticated sounding English-speaking man. He says he's from Uber and asks for details. I tell him everything, in English this time.

The man asks to speak to the driver. I pass over the phone to the driver. They speak to each other in Hindi, the driver explaining how his cab has no gas and I am not letting him go to the pump. "Madam ko to pehle hi bata diya tha gas nahi hai. Baad mein kyun boli?" (I had informed Madam earlier that I was out of gas. Why did she object later?)

He pauses, listening to the man on the other side.

Magically, it turns out that the driver has back-up petrol in tank - enough to drop me home. He takes the correct route and starts driving. The Uber personnel assures me that I will be dropped home safely and that they are tracking everything.

All this takes about 15 minutes. And it doesn't end here.

Within moments, I receive a call from a police personnel. He starts asking me a series of questions. This is how the conversation went -

Police: "What has happened?"

Me: (Give him all details)

Police: "Where are you ma'am?"

Me: "Currently on the way back home." (Explaining the route)

Police: "But you mentioned, some other place, during the call. Do you still need help?"

Me: "I don't know. The driver did not stop. He seems to be dropping me home. But I am not sure."

Police: "Ok. All right. Please hand over the phone to the driver."

I do as instructed. The police personnel takes down all his details on phone - the man's name, his father's name, his native place, what car he drives, his license details, etc.

The call ends.

Within minutes, I get another phone call from another police personnel. The same conversation repeats. And then, another policeman calls.

I receive six calls in total from the police, each time, repeating the same statements, the same facts.

Tired and exhausted, I tell the last one that my phone battery is dying and that I've almost reached home by now.

"Actually, ma'am, aap ekbar 100 pe phone kar dete hain to sab ke pass yeh message flash ho jata hai. Hume to apna kaam karna padega," he tells me sincerely. (Once you dial 100, the distress message is flashed to everyone. We have to do our job.) I tell him that I've reached my apartment. And that he can drop the case now.

To drop the case, he takes another round of details, this time from me. "Where do you work?" "Where are you coming from?" "What is your husband's name?" Many more followed.

And finally, he says, he's closing it.

I get off the cab. Without a word, walk towards my home. My panic-stricken husband, who'd received the automated emergency messages, was desperately trying to get in touch with me. Relief floods us.

MY LESSONS
1. It took me three clicks to call the police, instead of one as expected. First, I pressed the SOS button, then hit on call 'police' and finally dialled 100.

2. Yes, the Uber SOS panic button works. But only in a limited manner. I struggled to explain my location. It does not send any automated GPS tracking to the police. Or probably, the police doesn't use the GPS to locate the cab. In short, people who should track you via GPS location aren't doing it.

3. Narrating the experience over and over again in such a short span to six different police personnel was mind-numbingly exhausting. I was sapped of all energy and just wanted this entire ordeal to end. Decided not to press any charges as I could not go through all of this again!

4. All that conversation back and forth had given the driver enough time to build up his excuses. When he realised that I had actually called the police, he tried to change his statements, pinning the blame on me.

On the same day, I later learnt, another Uber cab driver had threatened a woman passenger in Kolkata: 'Shut up, or I will rape you'.

And, no. My dad still doesn't know what happened that night. I am hoping, he doesn't come across this article. He's not online that often.

Last edited by Rehaan : 4th August 2016 at 12:19. Reason: Indenting quoted text...
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Old 2nd August 2016, 19:56   #667
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

This is bad. Bad for us as a society trying to tackle crime against women and bad for Uber/OLA and all these cab services in the long run. I do not understand which criminal will give you the option to talk leisurely to cops and Uber call centres if he is actually having an intent to commit a crime. All it would take is a flash of a knife, a gun or even just physically knocking you out. Ideally I feel at the press of that SOS button there should be a red alert across the system. They should be the ones calling your number and not the other way around. Infact they should also instantaneously call the driver itself too so that he knows he has been put under surveillance and would not go scott free if he tries something fishy.

Also recently I had another idea. Uber can also direct other cabs under its wing or may be even have a collaboration with OLA and vice versa, in the direction of the cab from which the SOS came. There would be many in and around you or even at a few kms away. In the night time ( when most such crimes take place) the roads are emptier and it would not take a cab to cover few kms also in a very short time. The passenger may not always know the location or may be unfamiliar with the roads or just may not be able to accurately describe where they are. But they can see you on the GPS. Other cabs can reach you much more swiftly and prevent a mishap from happening. And it would always be easier to manage this within your system compared to trying to cooperate with the cops. They should share all details with the cops too but they can take this as another measure to prevent an incident. After all the time between the passenger feeling the need for using the SOS service and something bad happening may be very short. And every effort should be made to ensure the passengers safety.

I understand that sometimes the button might be pressed by mistake or out of mischief. But it would be worth if we could just prevent even 1 untoward incident from happening.

Last edited by drmohitg : 2nd August 2016 at 20:02. Reason: added text
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Old 2nd August 2016, 20:05   #668
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

Why would BOTH the police and UBER back office ask the lady to hand over HER phone TO the rogue driver, to speak to? UBER has the drivers number, anyway! That smartphone is her ONLY link to the outside world at that moment.....?? There is something NOT quite right with the story.

Last edited by lapis_lazuli : 2nd August 2016 at 20:11.
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Old 2nd August 2016, 20:08   #669
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

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Originally Posted by drmohitg View Post
Also recently I had another idea. Uber can also direct other cabs under its wing or may be even have a collaboration with OLA and vice versa, in the direction of the cab from which the SOS came.
If it is a potential police case, especially the typical crime related to a cab driver on a lonely road such as robbery, rape, murder etc, no sensible other / unrelated cabbie will get involved to play a good samaritan.

Even people rescuing accident victims and taking them to a hospital sometimes get bogged down in police procedures, so how will any cabbie who plays a bollywood hero and tries to thrash the rapist or murderer fare in such a situation?

Also it is highly unlikely that anybody is going to willingly accept a tasking like that, to go off and try to stop a crime in progress, if he is a family man with a wife and kids, dependent parents etc.
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Old 2nd August 2016, 20:20   #670
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

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Originally Posted by hserus View Post
If it is a potential police case, especially the typical crime related to a cab driver on a lonely road such as robbery, rape, murder etc, no sensible other / unrelated cabbie will get involved to play a good samaritan.
Also it is highly unlikely that anybody is going to willingly accept a tasking like that, to go off and try to stop a crime in progress, if he is a family man with a wife and kids, dependent parents etc.
I agree these are valid concerns. But my understanding is that most of these crimes take place since these rogue drivers feel they have the luxury of seclusion on their side. Another cab approaching would mean that they don't have that anymore.

Or atleast a policy like this in place may inculcate more fear in these drivers. Sometimes its the fear of getting caught is good enough to prevent a crime from happening.

As far as willingness of the cabbie is concerned, well they can't be forced for sure. But everyday in real life we do come across good Samaritans.So we can atleast take a chance with the cabbies too. And from my conversations with Uber/Ola drivers, these fellows are pretty well versed with the reason behind the success of these cabs i.e clean and hassle free cabs and providing a good experience. And most of them would feel strongly about preventing such incidents.
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Old 2nd August 2016, 20:36   #671
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

This simply means ola / uber needs to improve their vetting process in order to weed out people with criminal records from becoming drivers.

There are many posts already on this thread I think about how that model fails (eg: someone might be clean with the Delhi police but have a long record against his name in UP or Haryana).

Ola / Uber might want to slave the smartphone camera - on the passenger's phone and possibly on the driver's phone - to their app (the app demands all kinds of permissions anyway) and turn on a live feed of the situation, along with the usual GPS coordinates.

But I am not sure how technically feasible all this is - cellphone bandwidth is much better than before but not everybody has enough for a live streaming video feed, and call drops / data signal drops are a fact of life even in the middle of a city, let alone a lonely highway towards noida.
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Old 2nd August 2016, 20:37   #672
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

Seriously. this is a bad and scary. At times you think that to what level the service industry can stoop down. I am eager for what reaction did Uber authorities take against that driver. They have some methodology where you are informed back regarding your SOS call.

You cannot have such drivers driving on road. Coming to Delhi/UP Police, sure they do get lots of panic calls. But they seriously need to get a centralized database. Like you said your panic sos was relayed to all the PCRs and all of them kept calling you. There needs to be some way where you panic information with Lat+Longs gets updated to centralized server and these PCRs can fetch information from there rather than calling the grief stricken person again and again.
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Old 2nd August 2016, 22:16   #673
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

Didn't we read earlier in these pages of Uber showing a complete lack of interest in one of their drivers being hospitalised after an accident?

It is just a mechanism to connect drivers and passengers. It doesn't look as if they have facilities to offer support in case of any emergency, to passenger or driver.

As to an SOS button simply instructing the passenger to call emergency services, that is just a bad joke. Or just marketing froth on the app spec: "provide SOS button to give customer sense of security."
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Old 3rd August 2016, 08:34   #674
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DriverR View Post
Came across this article that i feel is relevant to share, especially for all those who use Uber regularly.

Its funny to me how American companies think all their bare-minimum safeguards and processes that rely excessively on human efficiency can work in a half-country like India. In America its ok to link the "SOS" button to 911, a dedicated line for round the clock emergencies of a medical or crime-related nature.. which can link phone calls instantly either by number or location. How on earth did UBER assume its enough for India?

I think the cab driver surely had some plans in mind but backed out because either there were a few people at the scene or he realised that if he resisted more, he'd get into full trouble with the law later. He could just as easily have grabbed the phone away from the passenger, but that would have just escalated the argument to very high levels and that's not something that should happen in a place like Delhi.

The sad truth in India is this, its NOT America and its not 1/1000000th of America either. There is still a "recommended" cut-off time of 9 p.m all over (except Mumbai), post that its time for the anti-social elements to come out and play in full force. All the women would preferably need to travel with family/well-known friends post that cut-off, otherwise one is certainly inviting risk. Its not that it happens every time or everywhere, but surely 1 in a thousand cases would experience a bitter/shocking experience as above and that's a lot.

We've come a long way but we've only become more dangerous as a nation. Gone are the days of simplicity and easy living.. every activity has a hurdle these days and its time for better awareness and protection of self.
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Old 3rd August 2016, 15:28   #675
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

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In America its ok to link the "SOS" button to 911, a dedicated line for round the clock emergencies of a medical or crime-related nature.. which can link phone calls instantly either by number or location.
Even linking the button to making the call would be better. Just bringing up a screen telling the user to that is minimal-spec joke. If I was the programmer, early, non-public versions would probably have had something like
Quote:
In trouble?
TOUGH!
Look after yourself!
In them. The programmers know what they are doing --- but have no choice but to do as they are told.
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