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Women safety

Will it fix safety concern? Govt to let women choose co-passengers for Ola and Uber rides

Women safety

To curb rising cases of women passengers’ harassment, the government is planning to give women an option to allow them to choose their co-passengers while travelling in ride-hailing firms such as Ola and Uber.

Last week, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi in a meet suggested that a woman passenger should be given an option to choose co-passengers.

The aggregators were told to put in place a foolproof mechanism to track any route diversion by drivers, said a road ministry official who attended the meeting.

“This is one option we are mulling to enhance the safety of women using shared taxi services,” one of the sources was quoted by HT report.

However, there is no consensus on the idea as of now. The govt is planning to hold comprehensive meet with ride-hailing firms for the same.

This is after numerous incidents of women harassment surfacing in media.

In June first week, a Bengaluru-based woman passenger complained that on a route to the airport, the Ola driver V Arun(28) took a detour and took the cab on a secluded area where he allegedly held her hostage, threatened to gangrape, molested, stripped, and clicked her pictures.

This is not the first time when such incidents involving ride-hailing firms have been reported. The cab aggregators have time and again failed to ensure the safety of its passengers.

In December last year, an Ola driver allegedly harassed a 23-year-old fashion stylist travelling in his cab in the city.

In 2014, the country went into a shock after a rape incident committed by an Uber driver. Later, the victim sued the company, its former CEO Travis Kalanick and former executives, Eric Alexander and Emil Michael, after they reportedly met Delhi Police and accessed her medical files after the rape. Both of them were fired following the incident.

Uber has welcomed the suggestion by the government. In a statement, the company said it was committed to working with the government and other stakeholders towards partnering on the road as well as rider and driver safety initiatives.

Entrackr queries to Ola founder Bhavish Agarwal still remains unanswered. At present, both Uber and Ola apps have panic buttons that users can press in case of an emergency.

Both on-demand cab service providers have repeatedly condemned such crimes and took measures in the regard. But it has hardly resulted in curbing crimes against women.

Meanwhile, many women passengers, who use ride-hailing apps feel the move may not provide complete safety but can surely make them comfortable while travelling especially in the night.

A few of them also expressed a desire to get to choose drivers as most of the incidents involved them.

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