The incident involving the rape of a 27 year woman by an Uber taxi driver is an avoidable incident that occurred because of gross negligence

Uber Radio Cab Company in Delhi Rape Allegationuber app reuters UBER COOL? NOT REALLY

  1. Uber is a taxi, private car or rideshare service that can be accessed from a mobile phone app. Headquartered in San Francisco, the service provider operates in multiple international cities including Delhi.
  2. The safety factor is one of the main selling points of the service: the driver is thoroughly vetted and the cab is traceable at all times, factors which made the service very popular with women in particular. However the recent incident involving the rape of a woman passenger in Delhi by an Uber taxi driver has cast doubts upon the supposed safety of these cabs. We are now realising that the convenience of dialing a cab doesn’t assure us the safety and security that we expect of such a service.
  3. Though radio cab services are required to have several check and safety measures in place such as working GPS tracking systems, proper driver verifications and training processes, these rules are frequently flouted. By simply switching off his own phone, a cab driver can become untraceable and his actions unaccountable.
  4. In the Delhi rape case, the police took swift action and have apprehended the accused who was hiding out in Mathura after having threatened his victim with dire consequences and absconding. According to the police as well as other experts, this was an avoidable crime, and that it was gross negligence on part of the taxi service because of which this crime occurred at all.
  5. Uber UBER COOL? NOT REALLYNo background checks or police verification of the driver was carried out as required under the law. There was no GPS in the car, nor did the driver have the mandatory Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence issued by the Delhi Transport Authority. The only link between the driver and Uber was a mobile phone with the Uber app installed in it. So simply by switching off his phone (which he did shortly after the assault) the cab driver became untraceable. (Source – NDTV)
  6. We now also know that the accused in the matter, 32 year old Shiv Kumar Yadav had been jailed earlier in a 2011 rape case. The man is apparently a repeat offender who had earlier been accused of raping a 22 year old pub employee who hired a cab outside a mall at 3.30. If the company had done its due diligence, the man would not have been in a position to commit this crime.
  7. Earlier this year Uber was banned after being named in a law suit initiated in Germany. UberPop is a service that involves drivers not directly employed by the company who use their own cars to transport passengers. It was alleged by Taxi Deutschland spokesperson that passenger safety was an issue but that “Uber doesn’t care because security costs money. We don’t believe it has the interests of [German] drivers and citizens at heart.” It was argued that service providers such as Uber have fewer regulatory burdens and that they pose “unfair competition”. (Source – BBC)
  8. If the global cab service is now being seen as untrustworthy, there are even more reasons for this. Privacy and sensitive data is an issue and that Uber is lax with such sensitive information claims the New York Times. More than one article in international publications has suggested that Uber targets women; that it has allocated a million dollars to what amounts to snooping on women.
  9. An Uber X driver allegedly attacked a passenger with a hammer in San Francisco; an incident which could mean Roberto Chicas losing an eye. Reportedly there was an altercation between the driver and the passengers about the route taken.
  10. Uber is now worth $41 billion and operates in 45 countries and over 200 cities globally. Clearly Uber has the money and resources to ensure passenger safety. Question is, does it have the will to do so?

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