Ola will alert passenger if driver takes detour

The cab aggregator will check if route change is with traveller’s consent

July 07, 2018 01:35 am | Updated 08:19 am IST - Bengaluru

Often, cab drivers insist on taking the toll-free road which is not a safe route at night.

Often, cab drivers insist on taking the toll-free road which is not a safe route at night.

The alleged attack on two women passengers en route to the Kempegowda International Airport by Ola drivers in a span of a little over a month, and the subsequent outcry, has forced the taxi aggregator to introduce “preventive” safety features.

The pilot project is aimed towards the safety of people trav elling to and from the airport late at nig ht or early morning, said a source at Ola. If the driver takes a detour from the national highway leading to the airport, even to use the new alternative toll-free road, the customer will receive a verification call to see if this was done with her permission. If it was taken without her consent, the driver will be asked to return to the main toll road.

“He will be cautioned and warned that his route will be tracked till the passenger reaches the airport or their final destination,” said the source.

Aggregators, not just Ola, are facing complaints from passengers claiming that drivers are taking advantage of the new toll rules to fleece them.

For instance, drivers collect the full toll amount from a single journey and on the return use the alternative road to reach the airport. In other instances, drivers often insist on taking the toll-free road which is not the safest route at night.

On June 5, an Ola taxi driver was arrested for allegedly molesting a female passenger and attempting to strangle her after taking a detour from the highway.

On Thursday, another driver of the same cab aggregator instead of going towards the airport changed lanes and started driving towards Hyderabad. The 25-year-old woman enlisted the help of toll booth staff to save herself.

Sources in the Ola told The Hindu that after June 5 incident, steps were taken to track taxis heading to the airport. “Now, when the driver takes a detour other than the aligned route, an executive will immediately contact the passenger. We introduced this on a pilot basis a fortnight ago,” the source said, adding that it was geared primarily towards the safety of women.

“If a passenger finds the journey unsafe, an SoS button on the mobile can be pressed for further assistance.”

Meanwhile, with regard to recent incident, Ola has filed a complaint with the Chikkajala police against both the cab owner and driver, Suresh, who was arrested.

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