Ride-hailing service Ola has fired and blacklisted a driver partner after a passenger claimed she was harassed during a ride from Bangalore airport on December 10. Akanksha Hazari claimed that the driver took a route different from the one directed by the app and asked her to get off when she told him to follow the designated path.
“We deeply regret the experience that the customer had to go through. The driver in question had been off-roaded immediately and has been blacklisted from the Ola platform. Safety of customers is our top priority and we are committed to ensuring that initiatives like the in-app Emergency button, a 24×7 Safety Response Team, and Ola Guardian amongst others, help our customers feel safe when they use the Ola platform. We have extended support to the police in sharing all information to help them with the investigation,” an Ola spokesperson told indianexpress.com.
Hazari, who shared her experience on social media, was contacted by the Bangalore Police after they took note of her viral post. The police asked her to submit the vehicle number and driver details and later tweeted that her complaint had been forwarded to the Bengaluru International Airport Police Station.
2nights ago, Dec 10 night, bet 11-2am I was harassed & nearly assaulted on an @Olacabs ride from Bangalore Airport>City. I am sharing my story because after 3days of followup, I have received no update & in fact been charged for the scariest ride of my life.This is what happened
— Akanksha Hazari (@AkankshaHazari) December 11, 2018
Hazari tweeted that she boarded the cab at 11.31 pm from the Bangalore airport. However, the driver took a separate route than the one suggested by the app to avoid the toll road. She described the road as “narrow, long and unlit”. When she asked the driver to turn around, he claimed to have no cash to pay the toll.
“I was alone in the car and at this point past midnight felt uneasy about this route. I asked the driver to please turn around and go back to the toll road and follow the route directed by the app,” she tweeted. “The driver became aggressive and told me to get out of the car. I protested. How can he leave me on the side of a dark back road, in the middle of the night? All I saw was darkness and a few men loitering,” she said explaining her ordeal.
After the driver didn’t budge, Hazari said she pressed the Ola emergency button. Hazari said she then received a call from an Ola safety executive, who assured her that the ride was being tracked. “He promised if there was any deviation from my route he would contact me immediately. I believed him and continued on the trip.”
A few moments later, Hazari said the driver started making calls and after repeated objections, he stopped the vehicle at a desolate spot. “I politely asked him if he could not make calls while driving. Like every woman, I was wary of who he could call at this time of night. He spoke in Kannada so I couldn’t understand the conversations,” she tweeted.
With the car not moving, Hazari pressed the emergency button 10 times in panic but received no response. “I am also wondering where the Ola Safety Exec who promised to be tracking my ride is. The car has been stopped for a few minutes now. He would see that if he was tracking the ride. But no call,” Hazari narrated.
Explaining the delay in contacting the passenger, the Ola spokesperson said it was due to both of them calling at the same time. “The Ola team was tracking the cab. After the cab had stopped, Ola tried calling but at the same time, she was also dialing the executive. So both of them were calling each other at the same time and the call was not connecting,” he told the indianexpress.com.
Hazari then dialed 100 and gave the details of her car but was unable to spot the exact location to the police. Moments later, when she finally managed to contact the executive, he spoke to the driver and continued to stay online via the speaker until she was dropped at her location.
(indianexpress.com has contacted Akanksha Hazari and is awaiting her response)