It has not been a smooth ride for Uber in India. The San Frasisco-based transportation network company, which offers ride sharing and taxi services in cities around the world, found itself mired in controversy after a cab driver was accused of raping a female executive in Delhi last year. Even as protests escalate against the controversial taxi service, company recently launched operations in Thiruvananthapuram too in August. Talking to City Express on Friday, Vignesh Anand, Launcher and the company’s spokesperson, reiterated the Uber’s buoyant business prospects in India and assured total compliance with safety measures.
Anand, who handles markets in Mysore, Coimbatore and Thiruvananthapuram, said that Uber looks at ensuring quality riding experience across cities. “It is an on-demand service. A person who hires a cab should be able to have a reliable and safe ride. In that sense, Uber Trivandrum will be the same as Uber Dubai or any other place.”
He added that Uber’s entry and launch are substantiated by the pre-launch market research, which reiterated a definite business traction in the city.
When asked about the rape case that created a furore over the security flaws in the app-based company’s operations, Anand insisted that a high level of safety and security is maintained in the whole system.
“We take care of safety aspects in three stages - before, during and after the trip. Whenever a Uber partner (which is how company refers to drivers/taxi operators functioning under the Uber brand) wants to come on board, they are thoroughly checked in terms of police verification. Also, we partner with a first class agency called First Advantage which does local and national level background checking. A customer receives details like the driver’s photograph, name, location, vehicle number and vehicle model on their phone,” he said.
The taxi also offers the customer the option to share details of the ride with five pre-registered friends or relatives. It has also introduced an SOS button for the passenger to alert the nearest police station in case of emergency.
The company ensures taxi drivers licenses, contract car permits, vehicle insurance etc before partners are accepted, contrary to the allegation about the company thwarting legal requirements.
“There is a huge social impact that Uber makes. I could tell you stories about partners like the ex-service man in Coimbatore or the race car driver or the IT professional duo who have partnered with Uber. We bring in a sense of dignity of labour to the job of drivers. Uber has created the drive in people to be entrepreneurs and it is our responsibility to continue in a sustained manner,” he said justifying the company’s decision to continue operations in cities like Paris where there has been a huge outcry against it.