New safety measures put in place by taxi service company Uber in India are “far cries” from the security provisions riders need, said a lawyer for the Indian woman, allegedly raped in New Delhi by a driver of the firm.
“Additions of a panic button and ride share notification to the Uber app in India are far cries from the safety measures riders need,” prominent New York attorney Douglas Wigdor said in a statement today.
Wigdor said “most unfortunately,” neither of these measures would have prevented the rape of his client. He termed them as “yet another obvious marketing ploy” to garner the support of the people of Delhi “who deserve more”.
“Hopefully our lawsuit will bring about real change so that others are not needlessly placed in harm’s way,” he said.
The Indian woman, who was allegedly raped by Uber driver Shiv Kumar Yadav in December last year while she was returning home at night, has sued Uber in a California court, seeking unspecified damages and alleging that Uber does not adequately screen its drivers.
Beginning today, Uber has launched an in-app panic (SOS) button that would allow a rider to alert the local police at the push of a button in case of an emergency. It will also introduce a safety net feature, which would allow users to easily share their trip details and real-time location with up to five friends and family members.
Last week, the company said it has also established a dedicated local ‘Incident Response Team’ that oversees and responds to incidents against property and person reported by riders and will also receive a notification, in addition to the local police, when the in-app panic button is pressed.
It said the specialised team, which would assist local law enforcement officers during distress situations, has completed an extensive training programme by the company’s US safety experts and would be reachable 24Ã—7.
Uber has said that it would launch the “significant” safety features as part of steps being taken by it to ensure safety, transparency and accountability for its customers.
Last week, Uber had also launched a nationwide third party driver screening programme in India with First Advantage, a global firm specialising in background checks.
Uber said it was an important step in building an industry first background check process for every one of the many thousands of driver-partners on the Uber platform in India.
In the lawsuit, Wigdor said Uber’s focus on “bottom line” over the safety of its passengers has resulted in “what can only be described as modern day electronic hitchhiking.”