June 6th, 2016
There are lots of issues when it comes to public transport, that is why we use app-based services. They are more comfortable and assure us of our safety. This incident happened with Amit Mehta. What we can least expect from an app-based private service is that the driver follows the basic safety guidelines.
“Yesterday we booked an #Uber from office in Sakinaka Andheri to a meeting at Jacob Circle Mahalaxmi. We left at 2pm. On the way, we noticed that the driver was chewing a lot of gutka, and later noticed that he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt. I asked him to put it on – he refused with the excuse that it interfered with this driving and hurt his chest.
By around 3.30 we had reached Lower Parel and were on the last flyover before Palladium when he decided to overtake the car in front of him and as a result got on to the on-coming traffic lane, and, that is when disaster struck.
We rammed head on with a Maruti zen (private car) with both cars going at decent speed. It took me a few seconds to recover from the crash and as I picked my head up all I could see was the car we had rammed into – it was packed (later learned there were 7 inside, three in front, four passengers behind, and a CNG gas cylinder in the trunk.) with a lady and a small girl child in the front passenger seat. I saw that the bonnet and engine had pretty much caved in. I looked to my right to see Christine’s head down near my lap and she lay there motionless.
All the doors had locked in, our driver was jumping around trying to get out and he finally jumped out of the window. I managed to open the door and looked over to the other side to pick Christine up – as I dragged her up from her shoulder a slice of her scalp hung out.
The rest of it is a pretty unfortunate and long story. Christine is now, thankfully, safe and recovering in hospital. All the scans are clear and apart from the outer physical injury there is no internal bleeding or injury. The driver of the other car has his back fractured, the kid has her arm fractured, two other members are in hospital with one in ICU – I do not know the criticality but I am told they are out of danger.
Our driver is arrested and is in jail. We have completed all the formalities with the Police who were quite supportive.
About 45 minutes after the accident (4.15pm) I sent an email to Uber
“We have just had a major accident in your car. My friend is in an emergency in hospital. Please call me on my number immediately”
I received a response at 6.01pm
Thanks for writing in.
I understand that you would like to speak on the phone about this concern. Though we don’t currently provide phone service (this is something we hope to have soon) I’ll be happy to work with you via e-mail to fully resolve your issue as quickly as possible.
Let me know how I can help further.
Alright, I thought. Later once home, I sent them a longer email explaining what exactly happened and that thankfully the accident took place in front of the Police who took photographs and impounded both cars. I asked for some details and support with the case.
I haven’t received a response as yet.
Christine’s parents and I felt that the story should be shared on Social Media because of various reasons.
One, every passenger should know that #Uber does not have any emergency helpline and that they will not call you even if you have met life-threatening accident.
Two, their email support on ‘critical’ and ’emergency’ situations is quite hopeless. They do not have a quick-response cell which can assist a passenger at such a time.
Three, in a situation like this, there is no #Uber office that you can go to in order to lodge a complain.
Four, the app does not have an ’emergency’ tab or an ‘accident’ tab which if pressed immediately sends you location to the cops, and any other saved number that you may have preset in your account settings.
And, it doesn’t end there. The damages are beyond physical & injury related.
We will investigate what can be done in such a case if after so much evidence #Uber refuses to respond or acknowledge what has happened.
The fault was entirely with our driver, Gangaram Santosh Ugale aged 22.
The Logical Indian community hopes those who got injured and are in the ICU recover soon. At the same time, the concerns raised by Amit are genuine. At this time, there are no regulations when it comes to app-based services. It has been more than 2 years since these services are in the market and the govt. had enough time to have a look at how they operate and what are the major concerns for the users. We appeal to the government that it is time they bring regulations applicable to the app-based cab services.