Ola has launched real-time ID check for drivers using selfies, Ola’s spokesperson confirmed the development to MediaNama. This was first reported by Decan Herald.
The Ola’s spokesperson told that the feature is running in pilot mode currently, and the expansion of this programme will be done in a due course. The new measure prompts the driver to periodically take a real-time selfie picture to upload on the drivers’ app to ensure that only the registered driver partner is behind the steering.
According to another Deccan Herald report, the cab-hailing company recently filed a police complaint against one of its driver partners, for allegedly allowing a proxy driver to ride a passenger. And that the proxy driver also reportedly misbehaved with the woman passenger during the same ride.
Ola and Uber accountable for the safety
Note that the government is seeking to make the cab companies like Ola and Uber more accountable for jeopardizing the safety of women. The Supreme Court also came down on cab aggregators last year when it indicated that a regulatory framework is required to ensure the safety of women travelling in app-based taxi services.
There have been multiple instances of cab drivers misbehaving or molesting female passengers or riders. This is a list of Ola and Uber drivers sexually harassing, assaulting, raping or molesting a female passenger ever since the Uber rape of 2014 in New Delhi. In a horrific incident in June, an Ola driver molested and stripped a woman passenger in Bangalore, who was hailing a ride to the airport. The driver took pictures of her and threatened to call his friends and gang-rape her. Bangalore police has arrested the driver and a case has been registered against him.
Safety initiatives by the cab companies
Ola, Uber and others have been adopting multi-forked strategies to tighten safety for the passengers. Uber has a similar driver selfie authentication feature, which it launched in March 2017.
Ola recently launched a campaign named ‘Street Safe‘ in India. The program involves partnering with local authorities including the Delhi Police, safety experts, and NGOs for creating awareness for causes of road fatalities in India; drinking and driving, texting and driving, and over speeding.
The company also flagged off Ola cabs with child lock disablement stickers to remind passengers to check and disable child lock before the trip starts (A rear door child lock on some cars prevents them from being opened from inside by the passenger. This was designed as a safety feature by car makers but is-+ being abused by cab drivers). In April last year, the WCD ministry notified recommendations to “New Taxi Policy Guidelines” (issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and Shipping) with regard to the safety of women. The recommendations were to disallow the child-lock system, prominent display of the driver’s identity, photo and registration number, among others.