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Old 8th August 2019, 16:14   #31
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Default Re: How safe are Uber/Ola for women at night

Did some digging (online of course, we are all keyboard warriors after all ):

Looks like Uber safety is a concern in other markets too: https://www.standard.co.uk/tech/uber...-a4207426.html

And looks like they are doing some things to improve safety. But just look at the difference in a 'more developed' market- the article cites a "Head of Uber’s European law enforcement team". Google the person named in the article and you'll see the person currently in that position does have some impressive qualifications- former cop, former officer in the British Army.

Perhaps Uber will...eventually take safety in our "not-so-developed-market' more seriously and appoint someone equally qualified?!

Oh, still, their 'emergency' request is a ...form? Hilarious!

https://lert.uber.com/s/emergency-request
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Old 8th August 2019, 16:49   #32
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Originally Posted by locusjag View Post
Uber has some competitive pressures to deal with, which we may not think of. There are other competing app-based cabs they have to deal with; these competitors lure drivers away from Uber and they even had to give up their Malaysian business to Grab. In Chennai, FastTrack taxis (who pioneered the call-taxi business in the early 2000s) have launched their own copycat app. In their bid to get Uber's pie, these competitors could well be luring drivers by being lenient towards the drivers, among other perks.

I couldn't help but note the difference between an Uber and a FastTrack taxi; the latter's cabs are ill-maintained and one of their drivers drove me home from the airport while all the while watching a soap opera on YouTube with one hand. (Don't ask me why I did nothing; I have no answer.) I don't think you'll ever have such experiences with Uber.
Really ? A company trying to compete in the market and the customer should be aware of that before criticising lack of safety measures for a celebrated game changer company ? Why would Fasttrack or any other competitors lax attitude be of anything important to this safety concern ?
And luring drivers by being lenient and providing perks... where have we seen that before ?

Last edited by ashokrajagopal : 8th August 2019 at 16:51.
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Old 8th August 2019, 16:57   #33
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...for a celebrated game changer company
You put your finger on it. There is certainly a perception around Uber that it is much safer. My wife will never consider taking an auto back after a late night out, but even after the several reports about Uber/Ola drivers misbehaving with passengers, she has absolutely no reservations about taking a cab using an app. I think we tend to confuse convenience with quality of service and online efficiency with real-world efficiency.

Overall, statistically it is probably still safer. But the point is that the 'exclusivity' factor is no longer there. And things are getting worse with lower entry barriers and lower profits to be made.

It is high time these app-based aggregators took passenger safety seriously, they can't wash their hands off that responsibility citing the 'we're just an aggregator' excuse.
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Old 8th August 2019, 16:57   #34
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Default Re: How safe are Uber/Ola for women at night

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Originally Posted by ashokrajagopal View Post
Really ? A company trying to compete in the market and the customer should be aware of that before criticising lack of safety measures for a celebrated game changer company ? Why would Fasttrack or any other competitors lax attitude be of anything important to this safety concern ?
And luring drivers by being lenient and providing perks... where have we seen that before ?
Sorry, I literally drew a blank after reading what you've written - especially the initial part.
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Old 8th August 2019, 17:18   #35
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Default Re: How safe are Uber/Ola for women at night

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Sorry, I literally drew a blank after reading what you've written - especially the initial part.
My apologies, when you said Uber has competitive pressures that customers are not aware of from others, I intended to say how is that related to this, and why must any customer give them a break on that part.
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Old 8th August 2019, 17:24   #36
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My apologies, when you said Uber has competitive pressures that customers are not aware of from others, I intended to say how is that related to this, and why must any customer give them a break on that part.
What I suspect is that Uber is glossing over driver feedback to some extents in order to keep them from switching to the competition. Of course, no one expects customers to give them a break because of this.
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Old 8th August 2019, 17:26   #37
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Default Re: How safe are Uber/Ola for women at night

My views on the subject:

1. Basic layout of a hailing cab should be changed. There should be a metal / hard glass mesh between the driver and the passenger who sits on the back seat.

2. An option of locking from inside so that the passenger can get out only in case she feels safe. That would also prevent any forced entry by the driver.

3. A emergency button that's wired to call the operator in case she feels the driver is deviating from the path. You can also wire it to send SOS pre programmed voice message to police walkie talkie frequency, if that's legal.

The cab will , more or less, look like a mobile jail , but might be help full in preventing crime.

When i hear such cases , there is the women's side, there's the man's side and what-actually-happened side.

Last edited by srini1785 : 8th August 2019 at 17:28.
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Old 9th August 2019, 01:15   #38
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Default Re: How safe are Uber/Ola for women at night

I am surprised that some here consider that Ola and Uber are "public" transport. And that somehow, just because these "public" transport options are there, we should be all happy that we at least have this in place.

Ola, Uber are "private" companies in the business of transportation - using some funding (burning through it actually) to make us used to the idea of hailing a car - which could become autonomous cars in the future.

This is also a fallout of us blindly believing that private companies will provide public good. I don't think they care. They are in it just for the money alone. Do I have a solution? No.
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Old 9th August 2019, 03:55   #39
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Default Re: How safe are Uber/Ola for women at night

Shocking that such incidents happen, although they are not uncommon in every country Uber operates in. The problem is not the harassment, it is how these companies operate. There will be some rotten eggs in every system, but if the system deals with culprits in a tough manner-there won't be many.

The first people to be notified when the emergency button is pressed is the local police and they should be given live location and if possible- the audio and video recording from the phone. Almost all phones today have a mobile internet and a decent set of cameras. That is enough to deter many criminals. My mom travels often from the railway station to home a lot at night.
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Originally Posted by ariesonu View Post

> Call anyone & share taxi details with family or friend OR just make fake call ensuring that driver can hear it.
Sure. Good idea.

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> NEVER EVER use mobile phone for listening to music or watch a movie/program - avoid distraction.
I think this is not feasible.
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Originally Posted by naveenroy View Post
I am surprised that some here consider that Ola and Uber are "public" transport. And that somehow, just because these "public" transport options are there, we should be all happy that we at least have this in place.

Ola, Uber are "private" companies in the business of transportation...
If you are serving the public, you are "public transportation" which is not funded by tax money. You come under a certain set of regulations which have to be complied with.
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Old 9th August 2019, 10:11   #40
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Default Re: How safe are Uber/Ola for women at night

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^^ Is there an option to ask for a lady driven cab? I don't think so.
There were several "Pink" cab services launched a few years ago with much fanfare in several cities, Ola also started one. These cabs will be driven exclusively by women drivers. And after 8 PM or so, will not pick up lone male passengers, women alone can hail them.

I was referring to those services. Are they still operational or not?
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Old 9th August 2019, 10:18   #41
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Default Re: How safe are Uber/Ola for women at night

Uber and Ola both together are a duopoly in the larger cities and if the current lack of real competition continues then their standards will slide - part human nature, part excessive push for profits {both currently burn equity to pay for operational expenditures} and part culture of these companies. You only have to see Uber's company culture in USA vis-a-vis its own female employees to understand the reality beneath the image & Softbank valuation glitz.

Yes they have made a change in taxi services in the cities. It is definitely somewhat more convenient than in the pre-Uber/Ola days but neither IMHO have demonstrated a true customer service attitude nor do they wish to take any ownership for proper vetting and training of their drivers by hiding behind the 'oh they are independent contractors' . There are enough examples of aggregators who work hard at customer service even if not perfect and who like Ola do not own the service or the asset - Air BnB, Make My Trip, India Mart. I firmly believe this duopoly is not in the interests of the consumer.

Uber's super incentive pricing programmes were aimed at only one thing - kill the competition. Now that they are in a dominant position the second step is in motion - cut incentives, squeeze the driver/taxi owner. Soon the third phase will come - hike prices paid by the customer now that a duopoly is almost established.

When ever the issue of women's safety comes up a standard set of responses from our male dominated society are - she should do this, or she should not have done that, or she should have worn such and such clothes blah blah blah. In ~1969 when Golda Meir was the leader of Israel there were a spate of sex crimes against women at a small remote military base . The camp commandant ordered that the women soldiers /staff be kept indoors after 9PM in order to 'protect' them. That is the 'normal' societal thinking - impose restrictions on the victim especially if they are women. Gold Meir said something to the effect of 'I have not known any women who raped a man. It is the men in the camp who need to be locked in after 8PM'. She was the Prime Minster and that ordered was followed.

I narrate this story so that young men on this forum understand there can be a different world view from the one we are so used to that we think it is both normal & natural.

Last edited by V.Narayan : 9th August 2019 at 10:32.
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Old 9th August 2019, 10:24   #42
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When i hear such cases , there is the women's side, there's the man's side and what-actually-happened side.
I think we can safely say that this not the case here. A lone woman was harassed in a cab, what is the 'driver's side' of the story really here?!

This is a big part of why most women don't come out and report harassment, eventually there will be whispers of 'oh she must have done something', 'oh there must be two sides', and eventually full-blown victim shaming. Even the news article happily cites the victim's name, the driver- the perpetrator's name is not mentioned, protecting his privacy!

And then we have most suggestions on what the woman should do- how women should learn self-defence, how they should behave, how they should be always alert and paranoid, how the cab should become a mobile jail. I totally understand why these suggestions are made and they are all well-intentioned, they are practical. But how about about punishing the harasser? Punish them so harshly that no driver will even think about trying something like this.

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Originally Posted by landcruiser123 View Post
There will be some rotten eggs in every system, but if the system deals with culprits in a tough manner-there won't be many. The first people to be notified when the emergency button is pressed is the local police and they should be given live location and if possible- the audio and video recording from the phone.
+1
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Old 9th August 2019, 10:56   #43
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Default Re: How safe are Uber/Ola for women at night

I feel that rather than asking the women folk to do all kinds of different things to keep them safe, we as a society should force cab companies like Ola and Uber to train their drivers and inform them the repercussions that their bad behaviour can have on them. The cab companies should probably make new strict rules, have the drivers sign legal documents before hiring them, claiming that any action can be taken against them if they are found guilty.

Also, a good thing to have in every cab could be an emergency button which would record and play any conversation that is going on in the cab to the customer care department when any customer presses it. This can also be used later to proove who was in the wrong. I still feel that the root cause of this problem is the attitude of these drivers, they probably feel that nothing would happen to them no matter what they do. They should feel that they'd pay a high price if they don't behave while taking us to our destination.

These companies probably need to rethink and rephase their policies, and their rules and regulations before hiring the drivers. If these companies tell them that there could be serious consequences because of their actions like they can be jailed, their commercial licenses can be canceled indefinitely or anything else that would instil fear in them, I think this is when such cases would reduce considerably.

We as a society need to change the attitude of these men in a way that our women feel safe. Carrying a weapon, pepper spray or anything else can probably very well save them but they would still be in fear that anything can happen anytime and this fear should be in the minds of the bad guys rather than our women, don't you think? It is the attitude of these big companies in hiring the drivers and the attitude of these drivers towards us as customers that needs to be changed.
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Old 9th August 2019, 12:12   #44
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Default Re: How safe are Uber/Ola for women at night

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But how about about punishing the harasser?
Noted and agreed. I don't know if she filed a report at the police station. Since she has hailed the taxi through the app, all relevant details like cab no / driver details should be available.


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Punish them so harshly that no driver will even think about trying something like this.
Agreed to this too. If by punishing this driver the issue would stop , i am all for frying the driver in oil.
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Old 10th August 2019, 12:23   #45
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Default Re: How safe are Uber/Ola for women at night

I guess enough has already been discussed here. I have kept myself away from being dependent on cabs. There was one time when Uber was strict about choosing cars and drivers and offered a better experience compared to Ola, which was just an aggregator between cab companies and customers just like Taxi for Sure. When Uber started the mad race against OLA, they relaxed their driver selection criteria and we had such pricks joining Uber. I have no respect for Uber for this and the quality has visibly downgraded. This is true for any customer, irrespective of sex. Even men can be mugged at night.
Unless the company corrects this mistake of letting such drivers run around with their brand image, it is of no use trying to bring in safety measures. All in all, its the mindset of the drivers that has to be changed and not the boundaries they are in. It is very evident in today's scenario that if a driver gets thrown out of Ola, they join Uber and vice versa. So no amount of policing and stuff will actually help. That brings us to law and order issues. In between all these, while we wait for things to change, we also need to change to some extent. A can of pepper spray and with a short demo of how to use it makes very much of a difference. I have got a few for my friends and trust me, it is just insanely strong, which is more than enough to get out of any situation unless firearms are involved. Heck, I even keep one in the car just in case it is needed. Forget cab, it can help even in open places so it has a wider use case. Warn the person three times, followed by a fraction of second of spray and its done. I brought something called as Impower a few months back and this is a strong oleoresin which can enter the breathing tract and suffocate people. I would never want to use this on anyone, but it can definitely help someone in such a situation dealing with an unruly cab driver. It will teach them the lesson of their lives.
I might sound very harsh, but waiting for things to change and at the same time being dependent on it is not going to work. With senseless companies like Uber whose customer care is nothing but scripted messages, depending upon a self defense device is anyday better than depending upon the customer care.
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