In a major embarrassment for Uber, the Mumbai police, who were tracking a missing person who had just taken an Uber, had to tweet to them saying that their helpline number was not working. Twitterati who had faced similar experiences delightedly jumped aboard the bandwagon, heaping criticism on the cab aggregator.
According to Mumbai police officials, a Navi Mumbai resident sought their help after his wife, on her way to a Mulund college, went incommunicado on Friday afternoon. The citizen, who identifies himself as ‘Sudipto’ on Twitter, tweeted to the police saying, “my wife was to travelling from Uber from Ghansoli to Jai Bharat Collge of Commerce. Suddenly the Uber stopped in between and my wife cell no is also off. Can i pls get Uber customer care. Car No was MH05BJ3041. Pls help @CPMumbaiPolice @MumbaiPolice.”
The police subsequently contacted Mr. Sudipto via Direct Message and obtained all the details from him, after which they tried to contact Uber for further information. However, an hour after their first interaction with Mr. Sudipto, the police, too, had to resort to Twitter themselves.
“@UberINSupport We are continuously calling your customer care number 7899900011. No one is picking it. It’s very urgent. Please share the current location of vehicle number MH 05 BJ 3041 & contact number of it’s driver,” the police tweeted from their official handle.
Mr. Sudipto responded to their tweet saying, “They have told me that they will come back to me but it 30 minutes gone and no call back. I urge Mumbai Police to send an explanation notice to Uber India CEO.”
Meanwhile, based on the information from Mr. Sudipto, the web cell of the Mumbai police contacted the Mulund police, who sent a team to the college specified by him and confirmed that she had indeed reached.
“Dear Mumbai Police, I am in the college and she is available here and giving her examination. Thanks for your support. This is a lesson to all as their is NO proper system in such critical condition in Uber or may be Ola also,” he later tweeted.
Meanwhile, other Twitter users were quick to chime in, some saying how they had faced similar experiences and other suggesting everything from filing FIRs against Uber to taking them to court.
“Tag Kohli as well. He is doing ads and brand ambassador of Uber,” one user replied, referring to cricketer Virat Kohli.
Another user replied saying, “Can everyone else please shut up and let the people who actually are doing something do their work in peace. Thank you.”
An Uber spokesperson said, “This was a case of simple misunderstanding. Helping keep people safe is a huge responsibility we do not take lightly. To keep safety at the core of everything, we already have an emergency button in our safety tool kit that connects riders directly to law enforcement. We also have a 24X7 support team and a law enforcement response team which stands ready to extend every possible support in such cases.”