Updated: December 10, 2014 10:15:48 am
UBER’S operations head for South Asia, Allen Penn, said on Tuesday that the cab service was still taking bookings across India, including in Delhi, and would continue to do so as the “livelihood of thousands of drivers depended” on his firm’s service.
Delhi government had banned Uber’s services on Monday after massive outrage over the alleged rape of a Gurgaon executive by one of its drivers in Delhi on Friday night. “The last few days have been difficult for Delhi, particularly the victim. Our condolences go out to her and the family. We are deeply sorry about the incident and want to do everything we can to help her,” Penn told reporters here late Tuesday.
“We are still trying to get the details of the ban. Though we respect the government and its rules and regulations, we are also committed to our drivers and will continue to support them as their livelihood depends on Uber. They have to feed their families and we cannot abandon them at this time of need.”
According to Penn, Uber first received a call from Delhi Police at 9 am on Saturday. “They had a name which did not match any of our records, but the phone number they provided matched our database. We quickly provided the police the driver’s name, photograph, address and all the necessary documents available with us. Since the GPS tracking system provides us all details, we were also able to tell the police the route which the cab had taken.”
Since then, Penn said, Uber had been “closely” following up with the police. “Our priority in the last few days has been to cooperate with the investigating agencies.”
Penn said the licences were issued to the drivers by the Indian government much before the company started operations here. “All these trips were still happening. It was the same drivers, same cabs, same driving licences, same documents, same travellers — literally nothing has changed. The only difference Uber has made is to facilitate more business, help drivers get more rides, make more money.”
Penn also claimed that the company carries out “all required checks” including the personal details of the drivers and the fitness of the vehicles. Once a driver registers with Uber, in-person checks are conducted at the Gurgaon office. Uber, he added, has 50 employees in India and the team is responsible for these checks in its offices in each city. Once registered, information from the documents provided by the drivers is fed into Uber’s system.
“The most important verification is the bank account. Uber requires the drivers to have a bank account to pay them. And a bank account needs a KYC verification process,” he explained.
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