Ola seems to not only be losing its value on the investment front but on the on-ground battlefront as well. While Uber drivers had previously been accused of misbehaviour against women, the case of Ola drivers mistreating passengers now seems to be on the rise. Today, we’re sharing two such very recent ordeals faced by Indian women riders, who were travelling back home from work in an Ola taxi.
One such instance is being narrated by a young corporate communications executive named Koyel Shee Mukherjee. She had to be faced with several instances of abuse, firstly during her pick up and then the drop off as well. On a Tuesday evening, she booked an Ola Share ride from Lalbazar to her residence in Thakurpukur.
First, Mukherjee mentions that she avails the services of Ola taxi on a daily basis — to travel to work and back home. She states that her pickup is quite simple but the Ola driver used nasty slangs and caused immense confusion in her pick up from the provided location. She could’ve cancelled the ride but decided to jump ship because it was getting quite late. She was later shocked by his behaviour and that he had tapped the ‘complete trip’ button ahead of the destination — which was still some 9km away form the location she had entered.
Here a complete transcript of the recollection of the ordeals/abuse she had to face while travelling back home and how she saved herself from any mishaps:
As always, I waited on Tuesday also for my pick up to arrive opposite of Lalbazar — the location is easy for any driver to identify. Yet, the driver failed to find my location. Later he insisted it is a one-way road (which is incorrect) and pick up from there was not possible. He asked me to walk back towards Brabourne Road flyover traffic point according to his convenience which I refused. I gave him the option to pick me up from Tea Board but he refused, though he would have to cross the point to go to my destination from Howrah side. When I tried reasoning with him over phone, I was screamed at and abused with slangs. I should have cancelled the trip then, but as it was getting late, I boarded the cab. The driver continued to be impolite but my two co-riders never protested. When I said I would report the incident to Ola, he looked unfazed. It took me 20 minutes to get through Ola’s call centre representative. Then my issue was immediately routed as a ‘security concern call’. By then we were at Momimpore and my co-riders had gotten off. The Ola security manager, Suraj, asked me to immediately get off the cab as my trip was ‘completed’. But we were still driving around Remount Road. I had never felt so scared and insecure. By switching off the GPS he could have taken me anywhere, did anything and even got away with his crime. After much screaming he stopped the car and I got off near Majherhat with several passengers of buses stuck in traffic came to my rescue
This is a grave instance of what Ola drivers are up to nowadays and Ola Support is shy of even replying back to complaint emails. Mukherjee alleges that she mailed Ola three times and it was only when she tagged the company on Facebook saying she’s ready to take police action against them did she receive a reply. The Support team assured her that they ‘would ensure that this person is put through retraining on how to use the device’and suspended after proper investigation if need be.
While the other one was raised over on Twitter, where a woman lodged a complaint against the driver to the homegrown ride-hailing giant. She alleged and even tweeted photos stating that the cabbie was busy scrolling through pornographic websites on his mobile phone that he couldn’t switch to the Ola driver partner app to begin the ride.
— Pradnya (@musttravelmore) May 8, 2017
— Pradnya (@musttravelmore) May 8, 2017
Further, she also reported to Ola support that the said driver was drunk and driving haphazardly to the destination. He was even hurling abuses over to other drivers on the streets, as well as the two women traveling with him. They had to shout back to get him to stop the ride and Ola Support assisted her instantly via the micro-blogging website. The driver has now potentially been suspended and holds no association with Ola.
While it may be the driver who does not know how to conduct themselves in front of riders, especially women but it is Ola’s brand image that’s being destroyed in the process. The onboarding of drivers has been kept a stern check upon over the past but some of the dirt still seems to be seeping through. It is good on the part of Ola to take quick action to prevent any grave mishaps but it is advised to sign up better personnel to build the platform.
The drivers are currently also dejected with reduced incentives and discounts that’ve been implemented by the company to save some precious bucks. The driver associations have even gone on repeated strikes, which were broken down by ruling passed by the court. Ola has just recently secured a lifeline funding round from SoftBank, Ratan Tata and InfoEdge to take the fight back to its arch-nemesis Uber. It was, however, a down round that valued the company at $3.5 billion as opposed to the previous $5 billion.