Uber driver Stalking a Customer : "Safety of customers" is very serious, which every tech enabled business need to understand & pay attention to


So it was Shuvratri morning and I had to go to Bangalore. I had to catch flight from Terminal-3 of Delhi. I booked my cab through ‘Uber’ at around 10:20am so that I can get into the taxi by 10:30 and reach airport by 11:30am (that was the ETA at that point of time). Cab was arriving at entry gate of my society in 2mins, so I rushed towards the elevator and reached the gate. Then I receive a notification that Driver has cancelled the cab and we are finding you another ride. Another driver was assigned and this gentleman calls to ask things like where you want to go, will you pay in cash, how much is it showing the app etc. After this interview, driver felt that I am not the right customer for him. Uber automatically found another driver for me, who again cancelled. It seems Uber tried to find next river automatically for 3 times and then I need to re-trigger the booking. 

I was allocated another driver and interestingly this was the same driver who interviewed me. I was not sure if he would come, so I called him through uber app but he didn’t pick my phone. This happened 4-5 times and that made me believe that he will certainly not come. By this time, I had spent 30min+ on uber app with no such and I was getting little nervous if I will be able to catch my flight or not. So in parallel, I started making attempt on Ola which I should have done earlier as well. But the story just starts now.

Now a white color Swift Desire started moving towards my location in the app and I could see this taxi on the road as well. That gave me some relief but this car stopped a few meters away. I again called. No one picked. Now this taxi started taking rounds around ths road and in app, it was being shown that driver is waiting for me. I checked number of this taxi which was not matching and there were 2 people in the car. This made me nervous and I simply focussed on Ola cab. But this ride on Uber was showing that someone was waiting for me while there was nothing around me now and driver was not even picking the phone. This was scary and now lot of thoughts started coming to my mind - did I talk to this driver rudely during my first interview so that he is now trying to teach me some sort of lesson? He has my details now, at least in form of location - how that can be a danger for me in future. Some of the other thoughts were even more dangerous which I am not comfortable sharing here. 

Now I thought of reaching out to Uber and as we know thats close to impossible. Interestingly I could find an option to call directly but by that time Ola cab arrived and instead I focussed on boarding the cab. That was  big relief. Now the next thought in my mind was 5*5 rule - which says that anything which you may not remember after 5 years should not take more than 5 mins. This incident has already taken more than 30 mins of my time and now I was wondering what if every customer thinks like that and there is hardly any follow-up or strong feedbacks. Systems won’t change with that. May be, I was trying to tell myself that you can’t let it go so try to find a reason which make me not follow this 5*5 rule :) . So I decided to write about it on my blog, which not only is a way to create real content for my blog but also helps in capturing everything I may need to refer for Uber. Anyways, let’s move on.

I also have been tweeting about this whole thing time to time and Uber was busy responding with standard replies. So when I was sitting in Ola taxi, I started receiving calls from security department of Uber. Earlier the narrative was very standard and Uber is a process driven company, where employees sing the song which was told to them. 

One thing I need to say is that now when I am writing about it, I am not able to relate to urgency in my mind at that point of time and that’s strange. But that moment, that was the most important thing for me because I had committed to be available in Bangalore for 3 days and my company had spent money & efforts to arrange things for me and others. I couldn’t not get into a state of cancelling my travel and hence getting a taxi on time was important. That also raised a question in my mind that we are so dependent on these 2 players Uber and Ola for our commute in these critical situations? What I and the local system can do to solve it. I may consider a local vendor which is more reliable and may charge a little more. System can run AC bus shuttles to Airport and that’s feasible in Tier-1 cities in terms of sustainability and profitability. There is Metro for sure but changing metros with luggage is not that convenient. What do you do apart from keeping a time buffer? 

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