Safety drive: Online cab firms to create drivers' database

Leading online taxi aggregators in the country have decided to come together to create a platform where a common database of drivers with a bad record can be maintained to ensure they cannot join another company if blacklisted by one.

The move was initiated by Bengaluru-based TaxiForSure. According to sources, Ola Cabs and Uber have given in-principle approval.

“The platform has not been named, but it is likely to become operational by next month,” a source said. “The platform will be developed by TaxiForSure. It is not a high-investment initiative, as it can easily be developed by their existing team within a few days.”

The initiative has been made to ensure safety of passengers using online cabs. Recently, a 27-year-old woman was allegedly raped by a Uber cab driver in Delhi. During the investigation, it was found that a US-based woman had made a complaint earlier against the accused driver. Experts believe such a database could help the sector weed out such bad elements.

The rape had led to several regulatory hurdles for online taxi aggregators. To ensure such incidents are not repeated, taxi aggregators have taken several steps, such as installation of panic buttons in taxis, thorough police verification of drivers and having dedicated call centres for women passengers.

Additionally, the creation of such a database will help check the quality of services offered by aggregators. With eyes on rapid expansion, aggregators have been in a race to increase their fleet sizes. In this process the quality of drivers hired by them seems to have taken a hit. According to experts, in several cases a driver who is fired from one company due to repeated complaints against him from customers joins another company easily.

While the initiative to have a common database of blacklisted drivers is seen as another effective step towards increasing safety, industry sources said, it might lead to some unrest among drivers.

“Ola Cabs, TaxiForSure and Uber are the three most significant players and if they blacklist a driver, he won’t find opportunity elsewhere,” the source quoted above said. “This would mean drivers might raise issues against this system and form unions to voice their displeasure.”

SAFETY DRIVE
  • The alleged rape of a 27-year-old by an Uber taxi driver in Delhi last month had led to several regulatory hurdles for online taxi aggregators
  • To ensure such incidents are not repeated, aggregators have taken several steps, such as installation of panic buttons in taxis, thorough police verification of drivers, and having dedicated call centres for women passengers
  • Creation of such a database will help check the quality of services offered

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