Cab services are supposed to be convenient and safe. They are meant to pick you up and drop you safely at your destination. However, it certainly would be a terrifying experience if your cab driver doesn't end the ride at your destination and refuses to stop the cab. Being a woman, the risk factor increases in such cases.
Something similar happened to Palak Nagar, 24, a graphic designer. On the evening of January 5, she had booked a cab through Ola at 5:43 pm from her Connaught Place, New Delhi office, to reach her home at Mayur Vihar Phase 1. When she reached her destination point, Palak asked the driver to stop, which he plainly declined.
While recalling the incident, Palak says, “I asked the driver to stop the car but then he didn’t stop. He started talking rudely and said that he will stop the car only where the map is showing. I then threatened the driver that I would jump off the car. He kept arguing with me but did not stop the car.”
At that time (6.30 pm) the car was going through the empty dark streets of pocket 2, Mayur Vihar Phase I. Palak mustered up some strength. Not finding anything else to protect herself with she pulled out a spray sanitizer from her bag as the car slowed down while taking a turn. “I used my sanitizer and sprayed it on his face. He started shouting as his eyes must have been burning. I took advantage of it, opened the car door, and jumped out of the car, which was moving slowly at that time. Once out of the car I started running towards the main lane. The cab driver followed me on foot but couldn't catch up. My home was five minutes away. As I reached close to my house, I called the Ola support number to complain about the driver. They have assured me that they will act on my complaint within 24 hours.”, says Palak.
Ola Cabs’ authorities have assured Palak that the driver will be punished and they will take necessary actions. There has not been any further development regarding the incident from the side of Ola cabs as of now.
However, such incidents are not new. Last year, on June 14, 2021, Snigdha Banerjee, 22, a writer, went through a similar horrifying incident where she was forced to jump out of a moving cab when harassed by the driver. The incident took place in Gurgaon and the passenger claimed that it happened when she was on her way home from work and had taken an Uber ride. Snigdha later approached the cops and filed a complaint with Uber as well.
Though in both cases, complaints have been filed. However, it still poses the question as to how safe is these cab services, especially for women. In a scenario where crimes against women are disturbingly frequent, what is the way to make them feel safe?