Uber’s chief rival in Southeast Asia, Grab, is now assisting the police in investigating the rape of a passenger.  The said passenger was allegedly raped by the driver of a vehicle she had hailed using the company’s platform. The incident took place near Seri Kembangan, Selangor state, Indonesia.

According to police report, the incident occurred at around 4 am on Sunday. The victim was unable to resist the Grab driver’s unsolicited advances due to a heavy state of inebriation. The driver has been arrested after the victim’s complaint, and the police is currently conducting an investigation into the matter.

The incident involved the more premium, GrabCar private car service.

Meanwhile, the driver has been removed from Grab’s platform, and the company has promised to offer support to the victim. Grab also said that it was planning to introduce a panic button in its passenger application that would allow users to instantly alert others in case they felt that something was going amiss.

Meanwhile, after things that have been taking place with Uber, this is actually a sad state of affairs for Grab to have fallen into. It would seem as if the whole cab aggregation industry itself find itself facing these kind of issues without a concrete solution to the same at hand.

For a company of Grab’s scale to face this state of affairs is particularly sad. The company currently has over 45 million downloads on its app, and 900,000 drivers. The platform facilitates over 2.5 million daily rides in various countries spread across the Southeast Asia. The company has raised well over $1.5 billion worth of investments from a clutch of investors including the likes of Softbank and Tiger Global.

Meanwhile, Grab issued the following statement regarding the incident:

We regret that there has been an incident reported on 11 June where a GrabCar driver had allegedly sexually assaulted a passenger. The news is deeply distressing and our priority now is to assist and provide support to the passenger and her family, as well as fully cooperate with the police and relevant authorities. The police investigation is ongoing, and we will not be able to share further details of this case. We have a zero tolerance policy to any crime and serious misconduct by drivers, and have immediately removed the driver from our platform, pending completion of police investigations.

The safety of both our passengers and drivers is, and always will be, a priority for Grab. I am truly sorry that we have let down our users and community in this instance, and humbly ask our passengers and drivers to please allow us to keep improving the safety and reliability of our service. We have in place rigorous face-to-face driver screening and criminal background checks – and we are committed to keep investing in driver screenings and training, and other safety initiatives. The Grab driver app currently has a PDRM ‘panic button’ for drivers to immediately contact the police in emergency cases. We will be expediting our plans to extend this feature to the Grab passenger app as well.

One thing is quite clear, these companies need to act pro-actively so as to ensure the safety of their customers, many of whom are young people who opt for cabs over conventional vehicles due to the safety and comfort associated with it.

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