First TaxiForSure and now Uber: within the space of a few weeks, two of the leading online taxi service providers in India have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. It seems like a consumer had a similar harrowing experience with Olacabs Delhi as well.
These taxi booking services initially became popular in the country due to the efficiency of service & consumer safety. What many of us hadn’t pondered much about is that both of these parameters are directly connected to the cab driver.
Medianama spoke with TaxiForSure, Olacabs & Uber to understand how these companies vet drivers before they are brought onboard, and what actions are taken against drivers in case of distressing situations for consumers.
TaxiForSure: TaxiForSure co-founder & director Aprameya Radhakrishna said that they work directly with operators or taxi fleets who ensure that certain formalities and background checks are conducted before a driver is signed up. These include Police verification, Medical check-up, Document verification (Driving license, Vehicle papers, RC, Vehicle insurance, Taxi permit papers), and Pollution under control certificate (PUC). The company internally maintains a record of these documents and reminds drivers or operators in case taxi permits are up for renewal or pollution control certificates are nearing expiry, among others.
Olacabs: Ola didn’t disclose any specific information on this, but told that they ensure that the partner driver who is using their software passes the compliance check of his (KYC) personal & professional papers. Ola also mentioned that every ride is tracked and all records are maintained by the company.
Uber: Uber didn’t respond to our emails but said in an official blogpost that they partner with registered for-hire drivers who have undergone the commercial licensing process, hold government issued IDs, state-issued permits, and carry full commercial insurance. An Uber driver however told Quartz India that it doesn’t take much to become a Uber driver in New Delhi. He told that they checked his driver license, English speaking skills and told him to submit his license, photos and other documents for verification.
TaxiForSure: Radhakrishna told Medianama that drivers undergo basic training for a day or two regarding ethical behaviour, communication, traffic rules, dealing with billing discrepancies, using TaxiForSure’s back-end app among others. He also mentioned that TaxiForSure holds driver meet-ups once in two months to provide updates & address any issues they might be facing.
Olacabs: Drivers go through intense training sessions as they’re onboarded onto the platform. The onboarding includes behavioural, etiquette, routes and technology training for drivers. They are trained to take ownership of the ride like entrepreneurs, unlike just a driver, making the whole experience a lot better for the end customer.
Uber: No official response but an Uber driver told Quartz India that they were given coaching on how to behave and talk to customers. In the United States, Uber follows a three-step screening process including county, federal and multi-state checks for records dating back up to 7 years.
Procedure of taking action against drivers
TaxiForSure: TaxiForSure has a driver rating system in place on a scale of 5, based on customer feedback. Drivers with bad rating are given a warning if it’s a minor issue and the driver understands his mistake. In case of major issues, the driver is either suspended for a period of time or removed from the system, like here.
Olacabs: Ola uses feedback from customers on drivers and ride quality to weed out bad drivers. They have a process to absorb and action driver issues to ensure that drivers who have a negative feedback against them do not last on the platform.
Uber: No response.