Woman journo recalls horror after Uber cabbie stops on Noida Expressway

The Delhi-based journalist said she booked an Uber cab but the driver suddenly stopped the vehicle on the Greater Noida expressway, and started calling his friends.
Journalist Ananya Bhattacharya said Uber responded to her complaint only after eight hours.(Representative photo)
Journalist Ananya Bhattacharya said Uber responded to her complaint only after eight hours.(Representative photo)
Updated on Jul 13, 2017 02:27 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

A Delhi-based journalist has recounted “the most harrowing experience” of her life with cab aggregator Uber, saying the driver of the taxi she had booked stopped it suddenly on an isolated stretch of the Greater Noida expressway and started calling his friends.

Though Uber India called it a “regrettable and concerning incident”, the journalist said she had reported the incident to Uber via its mobile application but their response came only after eight hours

Ananya Bhattacharya, who works for India Today, wrote a series of tweets directed towards Uber on Tuesday night.

She said that after boarding the Uber cab around 10.55pm on Tuesday, she noticed a “stench of alcohol and paan” in the car.

Bhattacharya’s experience only got worse. She said that within five minutes of the ride, the driver allegedly stopped the vehicle on an isolated stretch of the Greater Noida expressway.

“On Noida-Greater Noida Expressway. We take the service lane. In 5 mins, car stops,” she tweeted.

On enquiring, the driver told her that the car had run out of petrol. “The stretch where he’s stopped the car is dark and infamous for crimes.”

The driver then called a person from his mobile phone, Bhattacharya said, and asked him to get fuel from the petrol pump.

The driver told the person on the other end of the call that there was an “aurat” (woman) in the car, she added.

At this point, Bhattacharya said, she called her friend to reach the location.

“The driver overhears me talking and asks if someone was coming to pick me up. I tell a curt ‘yes’. He locks the doors, switches on the light. I snap at him, ask him to switch off the light. Meanwhile, he’s made 5 more calls, to 2 different people (from what I could understand),” she said.

“I’m numb from the experience. Shudder to think what could have happened had my friend not reached there before the @Uber driver’s friends.”

Bhattacharya said she reported the incident to Uber via its mobile application but their response came only after eight hours of wait.

Bhattacharya shared the responses from Uber India on Twitter:

However, Uttar Pradesh Police was quick to react to Bhattacharya’s tweets complaining about the lack of police vehicles on the expressway.

“Instructions are being given to Noida Police to ensure better patrolling on the stretch. Please always Dial 100 in such emergencies,” Rahul Srivastav, additional superinentendent of police and public relations officer of UP Police, said on Twitter.

When Hindustan Times contacted Uber India for their reactions, the cab aggregator’s spokesperson said in a written response, “This is a regrettable and concerning incident. We are internally reviewing the matter and the driver has been barred from accessing the app.”

Asked what the company was doing to ensure such incidents do not recur, the spokesperson said, “Several innovative safety features have been incorporated in the app to ensure a safe, reliable and convenient travel from point A to point B. One such India first feature is the Emergency Button, which connects the rider directly to the police control room and an internal response team at Uber as well to ensure passenger safety.”

“We recently launched a series of new safety features in the driver app that help us understand if the GPS route was followed, speed patterns of a car, slowdowns and stoppages and use of hard-breaks during a trip. We take note of every feedback shared with us and continue to ensure that riders are informed on the steps being taken to address their issues as soon as possible,” the statement added.

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