Unsafe Capital! Unsafe Cabs!
With another shame hitting the capital, Delhi seems to take its stride to top the list of cities with unsafe transport systems for women. Almost all means of transport in Delhi are the hotspots of crime. Trains, buses, and cabs—nothing seems to be safe for women. Women’s safety should have been our nation’s priority but this kind of incidents, time and again, proves Delhi as a vulnerable place for women.
The arrested accused, a characterless rogue, has forged a clean character certificate to find employment in the Uber taxi service providers. Media reveals that he has a tainted past which proves him to be a serial sex offender. He had been jailed for a short span of seven months for a rape case filed against him in 2011. Once again he had been charged with another case of rape in 2013 and was arrested for the same. The police officials should have been vigilant after letting a serial offender like him to wander in the society. Letting a criminal at large will eventually lead to such incidents. Just 10 days prior to this recent sexual assault another executive had registered a complaint to Uber about this very same rogue, Shiv Kumar Yadav, who glanced at her lewdly while she took his cab. Had Uber taken an immediate action, the recent tragedy could have been averted.
Although Uber claims to make background checks for all cab drivers registered with it, this incident reveals the fact that their claims and advertising are mere publicity stunts. More than 4000 drivers associated with Uber have not been verified by the company. Moreover, Uber cabs lack the GPS system which makes tracking possible. With all industries turning online, cab services have also found a pivotal place for themselves in providing taxis via internet bookings. In the case of Uber, “the company does not provide transportation services but only technological services that let potential seekers of cabs connect with drivers”(newslaundry). Similarly, most of the online taxi services while making things simple for both the travelers and the cab owners/drivers have failed to care for the security of its customers. They prove to be mere applications which help people to connect to what they want—their response to the misfortune is even more mechanical than their application. Beyond connecting them both and making money, they will never take responsibilities in case of any mishap. All these, they do not disclose in the attractive advertisements with catchy phrases that pop up often in your window, but in the lengthy “Terms and Conditions” section, which most of us never bother to read.
The transport department of Delhi has taken the issue seriously and has banned all the unregistered radio taxi providers which include Ola, Uber, TaxiPixi, Quick Cabs, Delhi Cabs and Taxi-For-Sure. It is really shocking to know that there are just about six registered online cab services currently plying in the city—Easy Cabs, Mega Cabs, Meru, Chanson, Yo Cabs and Air Cabs. The remaining cabs will remain banned until they obtain a permit. Their negligence and irresponsibility deserves the ban, but at what cost?
Such incidents seem to remind people that the need of the hour is gender sensitization. Educational institutions and social welfare organizations must lend their supportive hands to deal with the issue. The government must take sincere initiatives and restrict such unregistered companies from providing services to the public. Private companies must learn to be more responsible while dealing with the public. These are the few things that the society and the government can do for you. And on your part, for your own safety, single woman travelers of cabs may follow these guidelines: 1. Always make sure you book licensed cabs. 2. Get the details of the cab and the driver in prior from the company (type of car, license plate number, and name of the driver). 3. Don’t disclose your details aloud when you book cabs in public places (your name, address, etc.). 4. Before you step into the cab don’t fail to countercheck the details (Let the driver reveal his name and your name as well. You don’t ask ‘are you so and so?’ or say ‘I’m so and so’). 5. Always take the back seat. 6. Limit your conversation with the driver. 7. Be vigilant about the routes. 8. Text your dear ones the details of the cab and your boarding point. 9. Report when you experience any misbehavior on the part of the driver (may be it will save someone else in future…Like what this brave girl did!). Above all, Your Safety! Your Priority! —
About the Author: This article is contributed by Gayathri Devi. Gayathri has completed her M.Phil. in English Literature from Tamilnadu. Literature instilled her in the thoughts of feminism. And gradually, she was attracted towards this concept and she says it has changed many of her perspectives towards our community & that is how she landed to Respect Women.