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Old 25th May 2016, 12:10   #1
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Default Uber needs a Hotline number! Driver has a heart attack and it's impossible to reach them

Note: Long post!

I took an Uber ride from my workplace to my home yesterday and was picked up at 6.38 PM by Mohan Kumar driving a Mahindra Verito (I don't see the vehicle number any more on Uber but the driver's number was +917090801637)

I was traveling from Bellandur to JP Nagar 8th Phase via Silk Board.

Round about 30 mins into the trip, the driver did not seem comfortable. At the traffic signal, he asked me if he could drop me at Jayadeva (which is quite some distance from my place) At this, I told him that JP Nagar 8th phase is quite some distance away from there and it's a long distancy to walk home. He mentioned he was not feeling well to which I said, if that's the case, go on, it's OK.

Just after crossing Silkboard, the driver collapsed with chest pain. After getting the other two passengers out of the vehicle, I took the driver to the Gangotri Hospital at BTM layout on the main road.

There, the doctor immediately requested for an ECG and treatment was started.

While in the midst of this:

1. I frantically searched around in the Uber App for a "help desk" number I could call. The driver seemed to have "ended" the trip at the point where he collapsed. So the app just showed a "help" link. No phone numbers or any other contact details I could actually reach out to!

2. I checked with my office colleagues on WhatsApp and was asked to contact the police. In the meanwhile, I ran around paying the bills for the driver whilst trying desperately to reach out to someone

3. I reached out to Uber via the "help" option but even though I sent the message via the link, there was no response for an hour from Uber

4. Someone mentioned to "tweet" to Uber - which I did (forgive my language but at that point, I was pretty much desperate... (screenshots attached)

5. Uber reached out after two hours of the incident with a "canned" response stating they were taking "measures to see the driver is not able to use the app to drive with Uber till he produces a Fitness certificate" THAT IS NOT MY CONCERN. My concern was to reach out and get help to the driver in distress! Is THIS how Uber takes care of their drivers and (heaven forbid) customers?

What is tomorrow it's the passenger who meets with an emergency? What if the passenger is traveling to another city and is not on "home turf"? What happens then?

While Uber reached out and "reversed" the bill and asked me to reply back to the email to compensate for the "medical expenses" why is Uber concerned about the expenses I have incurred willingly - with no gun pointed to my head - just to save a fellow human being in need - whom I did not even know prior to the ride?

And all these drivers that Uber has, don't even seem to have a "hotline number" they can reach out to - in case of emergencies? Is THAT how a business is supposed to operate? With no concern about the well being of your drivers (even if they are just contractors?) Then what are the paying customers in the eyes of Uber exactly? Just plain revenue stream?

Why do we have a cab operator allowed to ply in our country (to hell with the US that is NOT my concern) but with a billion population and the country bursting at the seams with traffic, is that a ride that either you or I would like to take moving forward, given just what happened?

I am *not* writing this to malign a company or the company's operation and favoring one vendor over the other. I have NOTHING to do with the operations of any taxi aggregator service but I DO care about the safety and security of aspect of a public utility I am using (and make NO mistake, Uber and Ola etc are at the end, private public utility service in the end)

I am reaching out to ensure

1. Uber is made to/forced to change. Today it's something that's happened to my driver, tomorrow it could be me/my wife/my daughter who needs assistance. It could be anyone. We need a support system for both the Driver and the commuters at place.

2. Uber to reach out to the driver and ensure he is taken care. I have done what I could at that point. But as an employee (even if contractual) it's Uber's responsibility to take care of their drivers

Uber needs a Hotline number! Driver has a heart attack and it's impossible to reach them-screen-shot-20160525-11.12.23-am.png

Uber needs a Hotline number! Driver has a heart attack and it's impossible to reach them-screen-shot-20160525-11.13.03-am.png

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Uber needs a Hotline number! Driver has a heart attack and it's impossible to reach them-screen-shot-20160525-11.14.36-am.png

Last edited by bblost : 25th May 2016 at 12:29. Reason: Edited one of the images.
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Old 25th May 2016, 12:42   #2
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Default re: Uber needs a Hotline number! Driver has a heart attack and it's impossible to reach them

I think you should also raise a query on the PGP portal with a link to the whole issue on this thread. This is something that needs a better attention IMO. You made a valid point that Uber or for that matter any other similar service can't possibly expect to respond back at their leisure when there is actually a fire burning somewhere to which they are also a party.
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Old 25th May 2016, 13:20   #3
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Default re: Uber needs a Hotline number! Driver has a heart attack and it's impossible to reach them

A very valid point. In the focus to keep customers happy, looks like they may be neglecting the driver community. Their responses attempting to pacify you as opposed to trying to deal with the driver emergency seems to point to that.

Also, big kudos to you for doing what you did. Rushing him to hospital, paying the bills and attempting to reach out and stabilize things with Uber.

Note: I don't think the thread title reflects what you actually did. I assumed it was a general Uber experience that went wrong from the customer side.
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Old 25th May 2016, 13:33   #4
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Default re: Uber needs a Hotline number! Driver has a heart attack and it's impossible to reach them

Kudos for showing humanity.
Driver having heart attack (possibly due to extended hours driving) is a bigger story than driver falling asleep & passenger having to drive home. This should be highlighted to media. Just like flight hours are regulated, driving hours too should be regulated.
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Old 25th May 2016, 13:41   #5
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Default re: Uber needs a Hotline number! Driver has a heart attack and it's impossible to reach them

Yeah, Uber and all other service operators should mandatorily have a helpline to deal with emergency situations. And good on you to actually drive the driver to the hospital. Quick thinking on your part. However, is'nt it strange that in the US, one would immediately dial 911 in such a situation and then onwards it would be smooth sailing. Here no one ever seems to call the emergency helplines, 102 & 1208. Whys that?
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Old 25th May 2016, 13:48   #6
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Default re: Uber needs a Hotline number! Driver has a heart attack and it's impossible to reach them

First of all good thinking from your side and helping save a life. God bless.

Second completely agree to your views on emergency contact. What happened to the panic button that was supposed to be installed in all cars? Did they stop that implementation, that would be one way to resolve the issue.
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Old 25th May 2016, 13:49   #7
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Sad seeing this ! I'm certain that uber drivers know the local uber office's number. I'll ask about this to my aunt who has recently put a car under uber.

Thank you for taking the person to the hospital, seeing the uber response, I'm alarmed by the possibility of the driver being alone in case of any medical emergency. Today you were riding as a passenger and could get him help, tomorrow what if he's alone ?
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Old 25th May 2016, 13:54   #8
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Default re: Uber needs a Hotline number! Driver has a heart attack and it's impossible to reach them

You did the right thing, really hats off to you for it.

I disagree on the Uber part, i don't think they are liable here. They are just a taxi aggregator service. This is how they are able to provide services for lower prices because there working model is very light on resources. Only thing that can be done is ban taxi aggregator services, i am not sure how that will affect the customers and to the drivers.

The only one to blame here is the govt and medical care. Govt should be providing fast and free medical care in these types of emergencies at least.
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Old 25th May 2016, 14:04   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afunnynut View Post
Note: Long post!
Thanks for showing such compassion and humanity.

I think such a scenario is the primary reason behind the government's insistence that all taxi operators including aggregators should have a local call centre in each of their cities of operation. You cannot have a quick response system without this.

It is a separate issue that we should have a decent health support service, emergency response etc provided by the government. Also the inordinate delay in categorising each service type is typical, but still the intent IMHO is good.

Any organisation supports it's employees ("partners") in an emergency. A colleague fell off his bike onto the divider face first a few years ago. This was at night, well after office hours but admin still landed up and he authorised treatment in Manipal which wasn't one of the "approved" hospitals at the time.

Once again kudos to you. Love your tweet to Uber BTW ��

Last edited by GTO : 26th May 2016 at 12:46. Reason: Typos
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Old 25th May 2016, 14:21   #10
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Default re: Uber needs a Hotline number! Driver has a heart attack and it's impossible to reach them

I drive with Uber on a full time basis and while I appreciate what the rider has done to help the driver in his scenario, I don't agree with the argument that Uber should have a hot line for such emergencies.
Here's why:
- Drivers / Partners aren't Uber employees, so technically Uber ain't responsible in any way : It's just an Aggregator connecting riders with drivers!
- There is in-fact a partner support helpline available, but I doubt they can do anything in such a scenario except request you to take the driver to the nearest hospital.
- We humans love exploiting stuff, so an emergency Uber hotline, in case it's started, would eventually get bombarded with stupid calls for booking enquiries and complaints.

To sum it up, such instances are rare and the best thing to do here is what afunnynut already did : i.e. To take the patient to a hospital - doesn't matter whether it's an Uber driver or an auto driver.
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Old 25th May 2016, 14:31   #11
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Default re: Uber needs a Hotline number! Driver has a heart attack and it's impossible to reach them

There has to be a helpline. Even OLA has one. Bookmycab has one too.

Its just that the helpline options need to be clear and crisp.

Most of the things can be automated over IVR and human interaction only for emergiencies.

In today's world, running a countrywide consumer business without a helpline - duh!!

Moreover - There could be an option of booking a cab over the phone. Someone may need a cab, however, data connectivity may be weak, and voice services may work perfectly fine (this happens frequently on cellular networks) in the location where a cab is needed. What does the person do then? If there is an option to book a cab on the hotline, it definitely helps.

Last edited by yogeshnagpal : 25th May 2016 at 14:35. Reason: Additional points.
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Old 25th May 2016, 14:32   #12
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Default re: Uber needs a Hotline number! Driver has a heart attack and it's impossible to reach them

This is the downside of no (or minimal) strings attached service.

It's not impossible to setup backup/support/emergency services, but it will cost them money, no prizes for guessing who'll pick up the tab.

While everyone would love to have such services covered by every service provider, how many would be willing to pay higher rates in return? Most will just move on to the next 'cheap' option.

These services are cheap for a reason. Costs don't simply vanish, someone somewhere in the value chain needs to pay up. The driver in this case nearly paid with his life.
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Old 25th May 2016, 14:37   #13
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Default re: Uber needs a Hotline number! Driver has a heart attack and it's impossible to reach them

You did good @afunnynut. I don't think anyone could have done more. That poor driver is alive thanks to you.

I am sympathetic to the point you are making and struggling with my mixed feelings on this topic. For example in any company worth its name, immediate action is taken in case of an emergency, medical or otherwise. As @nishantbhatia points out, Uber is not technically an employer but an aggregator so I don't think they have any liability in such a scenario.

But more to the point, why single out Uber for this? Suppose you were travelling in a fleet taxi, do you think calling the hotline number would have fetched you a different response? In fact if it were a kaali-peeli cab, you would have no clue where to even call!

I don't mean to belittle the point you are making but the fact is that if you generalise the situation to anybody who collapses in the street, what we sorely miss as a nation is 911. Quick single-window emergency assistance, whether it is medical help needed or a crime in progress being reported or any other sort of life-threatening emergency. Uber has nothing to do here, it's the government that has to step in and streamline the existing emergency services (completely disjointed from what I hear). What's heartening however is that there is progress being made in this direction. 112 may be the helpline you need next time (God forbid) you or anyone else faces this situation.
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Old 25th May 2016, 15:04   #14
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Default re: Uber needs a Hotline number! Driver has a heart attack and it's impossible to reach them

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
You did good @afunnynut. I don't think anyone could have done more. That poor driver is alive thanks to you.

I am sympathetic to the point you are making and struggling with my mixed feelings on this topic. For example in any company worth its name, immediate action is taken in case of an emergency, medical or otherwise. As @nishantbhatia points out, Uber is not technically an employer but an aggregator so I don't think they have any liability in such a scenario.

But more to the point, why single out Uber for this? Suppose you were travelling in a fleet taxi, do you think calling the hotline number would have fetched you a different response? In fact if it were a kaali-peeli cab, you would have no clue where to even call!

I don't mean to belittle the point you are making but the fact is that if you generalise the situation to anybody who collapses in the street, what we sorely miss as a nation is 911. Quick single-window emergency assistance, whether it is medical help needed or a crime in progress being reported or any other sort of life-threatening emergency. Uber has nothing to do here, it's the government that has to step in and streamline the existing emergency services (completely disjointed from what I hear). What's heartening however is that there is progress being made in this direction. 112 may be the helpline you need next time (God forbid) you or anyone else faces this situation.
Totally agree with you. But, 112 is supposed to go live in jan 2017. Currently the helpline would still be 102 in India or 1298 in Bombay.

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/repor...ervice-1845838
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Old 25th May 2016, 15:45   #15
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Default re: Uber needs a Hotline number! Driver has a heart attack and it's impossible to reach them

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
But more to the point, why single out Uber for this? Suppose you were travelling in a fleet taxi, do you think calling the hotline number would have fetched you a different response? In fact if it were a kaali-peeli cab, you would have no clue where to even call!
+1

While OP did a good deed I think there's only so much that should be expected.

I too don't want to belittle OP's effort or defend Uber but has anybody really tried to reach out to the "hotline" in case of an emergency on trains/bus/auto etc.?

In fact our Railway Minister's response is guaranteed if you tweet to him but don't expect a similar response time if you were to actually dial the railway hotline/helpline.

I also think that Uber/Ola have become an easy target these days. I cannot imagine similar events unfolding if he was a regular black/yellow taxi driver. I don't mean to direct this question to just OP but if there was a twitter account for govt. run taxis then would we all have tweeted the exact same tweet (including the words that you cannot see).

EDIT: Let me at least answer my question. If there was a govt. twitter account I wouldn't have even tweeted (not that I use twitter) because I would know that my tweet would either be responded to after several days (if at all) or not be responded to at all. I would've simply moved on just like we all do when it comes to so many govt. run things.

I think there are some things that go hand in hand. If govt. wants a company like Uber (who operate at such a large scale) to take some responsibilities which are additional to our regular neighbourhood taxi walas then they need to create that provision. Until then, Uber is not doing anything wrong.

I think a feedback or petition (if you have the patience) would be the way to go.

Last edited by fine69 : 25th May 2016 at 15:54.
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