Transport Department warns Cab platforms regarding Unruly Drivers
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Guwahati: The state transport department of Assam has issued a stern warning to cab aggregator companies, cab unions and app-based platforms like Ola, Uber, Rapido and PeIndia in light of recent cases of cab drivers’ unruly behaviour towards passengers and charging higher than billed amount, refusing rides and even assaulting users.

On Tuesday, Transport Officer (Enforcement) Himangshu Kumar Das said that not all drivers are profit-driven and that some drivers are concerned about the customers’ requirements.

“The entire cab service is criticised due to few drivers misbehaving with passengers, either by asking for more money, cancelling trips, refusing rides or denying payment methods. From now, any inappropriate behaviour against passengers will not be accepted. The cab drivers will not be allowed to ask for additional money from customers who book a ride,” Das said. 

The recent alleged assault of a Delhi-based journalist, Nikita Jain, by an Uber driver following a disagreement over the payment method in Guwahati on May 29 became a big talking point on social media. The Uber driver was apprehended after journalist Nikita Jain tweeted the matter tagging Police Commissionerate Guwahati, and filed a complaint against him. 

Soon, others started sharing their ordeal too. Mona Bastola, a Guwahati-based pharmacy owner who travels frequently, told EastMojo that such incidents show the insensitive approach of drivers without a professional touch.

“Cab aggregator platforms should periodically train their empanelled drivers and scrutinise new drivers. This will surely address most of our concerns. As a woman who often travels alone, I will always look for a professionally trained driver for my safety,” Mona added. 

Stuti Choudhury, a popular anchor and an actor, also shared on her Facebook page that she was charged Rs 81/km by a cab on her way to the airport the day fuel dealers had called a bandh. She was charged four times more than the regular fare, and when so posted the screenshot of the billed amount, the comments section was flooded with similar experiences during rains and rush hours. 

Senior citizen Bhakti Maya Subba shared an uncomfortable experience with Uber. Speaking with EastMojo, Subba said she had booked a cab to the GMCH and it showed a fare of Rs 250 from Khanapara, but the driver wanted to charge Rs 8550 since the location showed Siliguri in West Bengal on arrival. Both driver and Subba tried calling the customer care, but it couldn’t be settled. The driver was unruly when the senior citizen paid the amount billed at the time of booking and informed her that he needs to pay a certain per cent of the billed amount, whatever the case may be.

“Such technical errors also lead to a fight between cab drivers and users. The operators must immediately address emergency messages sent by the driver or the user,” Subba added. 

Considering several such incidents, the Transport Department decided to revoke the driving license of cab drivers phase-wise and take appropriate actions on the platforms if found guilty of not adhering to the prescribed guidelines.

“Negligence on the part of authorities of cab organisations leads to such occurrences where consumers are at risk. Cab drivers must now adhere to the guidelines strictly. Any cab driver who breaks the guidelines will have their licence revoked,” the Transport Officer added at the press conference. 

“The licence termination will happen in stages. During the first five days of phase one, the driver will not be permitted to make any journeys. In part two, he won’t be permitted to drive for ten days, and in phase three, his licence will be revoked,” Das explained. 

Also read: Assam: Two years after oilfield disaster, bitter harvest in Baghjan

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