Bengaluru: Ola Driver Allegedly Masturbates In Front Of Passenger, Ola Blacklists Him
On Thursday, August 23, a 22-year-old woman has alleged that an Ola cab driver sexually harassed during her journey from Yelahanka to JP Nagar in Bengaluru. According to her, the driver was watching porn and was also masturbating while the woman was sitting in the back seat of the cab. Even after repeatedly asking the driver to stop the car the driver did not do so. The incident took place when the victim, employed with a private firm, booked a cab from her residence in Yelahanka New Town to JP Nagar at around 6:28 in the morning.
In her complaint filed at the Cubbon Park police station, she said as the cab neared Queen’s Circle, the driver held his cell phone in his left hand so that it is visible to her and started watching a porn video on it. She also claimed, the man began to masturbate in the car while she was sitting in the back of the cab. When she urged the driver to stop the cab and let her go, the driver ignored her plea and did not stop until they reached her destination.
The Logical Indian spoke to the Ola spokesperson Amit Kumar. Responding to the allegations, he said, “We have already blacklisted the driver. We have given all the details of the driver and operator, whose car he (driver) used. We are shocked and deeply disturbed by this incident and have immediately removed the driver’s access to the platform. We are standing by our customer and have extended full assistance to the police in their ongoing investigation.”
According to the police, a complaint has been registered under IPC Section 354A, sexual harassment. While the police have confiscated the car, the driver is absconding. The police have also questioned the car operator.
Blacklisting Ola drivers based on feedback
This is not the first incident when Ola has been dragged into a controversy for sexual assault by their driver partners. Taking “corrective measures” in the case, Ola has blacklisted some of their drivers based on the feedback they have got from the consumers, told Ola spokesperson while speaking to us. The blacklist irked many drivers and on Monday, almost hundreds of them staged a protest outside their office in Bengaluru.
The drivers expressed their anger over the company’s refusal to change their policy of terminating the services of drivers based on negative feedback from customers.
“The drivers have been blacklisted for trivial reasons, and the company has made a policy which has rendered cars of blacklisted drivers useless. Even if their owners change the drivers, the cars remain blacklisted, and this affects the car’s resale value as well,” explained Tanveer Pasha, who heads the Ola And Uber Taxi Drivers’ Association, reported The News Minute.
The OLA spokesperson told us, they have a zero-tolerance policy and a customer’s safety is their priority. They have also terminated the driver after an investigation.
“The blacklisting is not only based on the customer’s feedback. It happens for various reasons; from customer complaints to issues with PVC or criminal record to breaking of traffic rules. We have also taken drunk driving complaints in account. We have a team, who takes note of the feedback and the other complaints about the driver. Based on that we have blacklisted these drivers,” said Amit.
While talking about what will happen to the blacklisted drivers, he said, “There are a few drivers who have alleged that they are blacklisted because of false feedback, then we will do a proper inquiry in those case.” The drivers’ consortium has also demanded a reduction in commission charge, which they said was as high as 35%. “It should be reduced to 12%.
Denying this charge, the OLA spokesperson has said that the commission charges are 20%. “The Karnataka government set the charges, and the drivers’ consortium was part of the discussion,” he added.