The recent rape that happened in an Uber cab has just gone to prove that your safety is really your concern – man or woman, especially woman. While everyone is targeting the Uber cab service, I just read the T&C of two other cab companies – Meru and Ola and found them just as uncool as Uber’s. None of them take any responsibility for your safety and even more disturbing is Uber doesn’t even mention that they aren’t responsible for your safety on their user agreement for India. The following are pictures from Uber’s website – their claim that their rides are the safest and then on their US page, the T&C absolves them of that responsibility.
The Indian cab companies like Meru and Ola also are no better. Here are the T&C from their respective websites and the language is just the same.
Basically when you use any cab, it’s your responsibility to find out if the driver is not a rapist, murderer or mugger. The police won’t react quickly enough, if at all. And yeah there is legal recourse, if you have the energy and money for it … Media may help. Basically, we the passengers riding in any cab have to pray that nothing goes wrong or work on self defence or hire our own personal security. But that’s pretty much the answer if you use public transport too.
We probably have to start a citizen movement for neighbourhood civilian policing, just like the olden times when we didn’t have any police force. Make your street safe, patrol the street, taking turns. Create a network of citizen helplines that can be reached in times of trouble.
Government needs to bring some immediate changes –
1. Every cab has to have an inbuilt GPS system – no public transport vehicle or cab can be sold without that.
2. Create a software to track the cabs so one knows where they are at all times.
3. Set a button on both sides of the passenger seat that sets off a loud alarm that can be heard widely and also triggers an alarm to the police.
4. If a driver is charged with rape/assault/robbery etc – create a central database and no cab company should hire the driver without checking with this database.
5. Every cab company must be mandated to do a driving test to confirm the driver has a legit license.
6. Aggregators like Uber, Ola etc cannot advertise about safety if their drivers are not verified – not a character certificate which is useless as proved by this case, but the police station has to register the driver, get his/her fingerprints and check for criminal record.
I don’t know enough about how these T&C hold up in a court of law, but the important thing is to focus on preventing these crimes, not about how justice will be meted after the deed is done.
Till these changes take effect, stay safe and keep a couple of friends informed if you are taking a cab alone at any time. Let them call you if you don’t let them know you have reached your destination.
Wish we have a day when no rape happens anywhere and that day gets repeated forever :(:(:(:(:(.