Vetting of drivers, sharing the live locations, panic buttons for safety – they have tried it all. But, are the problems of Ola and Uber commuters resolved? Well, no, rather with time, new kinds of problems are arising for the users. A whopping percentage of the population thinks that problems arising due to Ola and Uber are far from over because they are not being addressed.
Let’s highlight the problems regularly faced by users of app based aggregators like Ola and Uber one by one.
The first thing which strikes my mind while booking a cab is regarding my safety. So many issues have been reported by women commuters who have faced severe problems regarding their safety. In fact, some women who have booked cabs at night have been raped while riding the cab or the drivers have misled them to wrong destinations. Women’s safety has been a pertinent issue for which no concrete solutions have been given. So, riding cabs at night specifically for women passengers is still fraught with risk.
Dropping at wrong locations
This is the most germane issue we all come across. Despite using the GPS navigation, drivers often ask where you want to go or what route is to be taken. It is not like we refrain from telling routes, but many a time a passenger is herself not aware of the way. Though it is the responsibility of the driver to drop the passenger at the right location, most of the times (specifically in pool rides), drivers drop at wrong locations causing inconvenience to the passengers.
Taking too long to arrive
The third big issue concerning the cab rides is the ‘wait’ involved. Specifically, when the customer is booking the ride through the app, the time shown for a Mini or Micro ride might be just 3 or 4 minutes. However, after the booking is confirmed, it might increase to 10-12 minutes. On top of that, cabbies take even longer to arrive. Moreover, no matter what pickup location you enter, they will always ask you to arrive from where they can comfortably pick you up. Sometimes they take so long to arrive that you are obligated to cancel the ride and look for an alternative. In fact, interaction with daily users reveals that a common tactic is for the cabbies to deliberately come and park the car very near to the pickup spot, usually a colony gate, rather than actually reaching the spot. The commuter gets a false impression that the cab is about to reach her and is ultimately forced to cancel the ride. And pay cancellation charges too for no fault of hers.
Cancelling ride without notice
This one is the most frustrating! As per a survey mentioned in the Financial Express, various commuters face this issue usually every day. Cab drivers take a long time to arrive and at last, the ride is called off by the driver without citing any valid reason. In case of an emergency, you are left bewildered as it becomes difficult to procure another ride right away. Again, a common practice adopted by the cabbies is to wait for the passenger to call him up before arrival. They then force the passenger to reveal the destination, and promptly cancel the ride if it doesn’t ‘suit’ them! This wastes precious 15 minutes or so, and the passenger is then forced to book another cab.
Behavioural issues of the drivers
Coming drunk and/or sleepy for the pickup is par for the course for many cab drivers. Many times, drivers are not in a position to drop you to the destined location. And the worst part is there is no way to resolve this problem. All you can do is contact the customer support and file a complaint but this whole process is so time-consuming that the actual work suffers because of this uninvited issue for the day. Often, you just receive a mail saying your complaint is being looked into, without any subsequent communication. Also, during the rides, drivers sometimes become too friendly and start conversing with you. You feel like something amiss could take place because the driver is being too frank and friendly. And though apps like Ola provide post-paid facility, sometimes the cab driver asks in advance if the payment will be by cash!
Asking for directions
This sounds funny and, psst, a lot of memes have been made on the same issue. In fact, they are trending on social media just like the problem is trending in our lives. As most of the drivers aren’t well educated and trained, they start asking for directions. Passengers like me who themselves aren’t aware of most of the locations contribute by looking at the GPS navigation system. Also, a problem could be the foreign accent of the GPS voice instruction system, which most of the drivers are unable to understand. And when they don’t understand the pronunciation of a ‘Benito Juarez Road’ or a ‘Joseph Broz Tito Marg’, they obviously miss the turn.
How to retrieve lost articles
Sometimes a passenger carrying multiple items might forget a file, folder, backpack or bag in a hurry to disembark at their destination, especially the airport or the railway station. And the cabbie also may not notice the item lying on the backseat till the time he picks up the next passenger, which may be few kilometres away. There is no central customer care number that the passenger can call up for a quick resolution of this problem.
Surge pricing, especially during peak hours, is a great problem which is not going to be fixed ever. It just takes a little rain to inflate the price of cabs to double. Moreover, if it is the office timing, you are surely going to regret booking an Ola or Uber in sharing or otherwise.
Although the cabs have brought a lot of convenience to the life of citizens in the metropolitan areas, it remains a fact that much trouble is also caused by these cabs. The quality of services deserved by the customers is not being delivered, which is why people are unhappy with the cab facility providers. It is being realized that service providers like Ola and Uber are basically focused on making money, and not really interested in addressing and providing solutions to these recurring problems. Maybe they think they can get away with it in a ‘third world’ country. However, paying customers deserve a better deal, rather than lip service!
Note: The above article is based on actual experiences of My India team.