AGAIN

Another Uber driver in India has been accused of sexual assault

Quartz india
Quartz india

This story has been updated.

Uber is in trouble again in India.

A woman customer has alleged that one of its drivers tried to sexually assault her in Gurgaon, a suburb near New Delhi. In a post on Facebook, the victim’s brother asserted that his sister had called for an Uber cab in Gurgaon, and the driver had subsequently “tried to kiss her forcibly.”

The incident comes six months after an Uber driver allegedly raped a passenger in New Delhi, which had led to much scrutiny of its workings in India.

The San Francisco-based startup was also criticised for operating stealthily. With no country manager for India, Uber was working independently in different cities, and it took the police some work to track down the company’s office in Gurgaon.

While regulators have sought to ban the service, Uber continues to be available to customers in the National Capital Region.

On May 31, the company appointed Amit Jain, the former president of US-based real estate portal, Rent.com, to head its India operations—a newly created position.

Update: In a statement, this is what Uber had to say.

Our team immediately reached out to the rider via phone within a few minutes of receiving the feedback. Multiple members of the Uber team have spoken with the driver. Uber has a zero-tolerance policy towards inappropriate behaviour and immediate action has already been taken with the driver partner being deactivated while the matter is being thoroughly investigated. In order to protect the privacy of parties involved, we will continue to handle this matter directly with the concerned parties. As discussed with the rider on the phone and email, our team is ready to assist further in any way we can to share information with authorities. We can also confirm that the driver partner does have a valid PSV (public service vehicle) badge and commercial license issued by the Delhi authorities.

An Uber spokesperson told Quartz that the driver had been suspended but it remains unclear whether any police complaint has been filed.

When it was launched in India in 2013, Uber was considered a safe option for commuting by many women in New Delhi—which is perceived as the nation’s rape capital. However, its reputation was severely dented after the December incident.

Since then, Uber has introduced a range of safety measures to attract women customers once more, such as SOS buttons in vehicles that directly link to police control rooms, and compulsory background screening for all drivers.

While it isn’t easy for any online app-based taxi service to provide a foolproof driver verification system, the repeated slips in Uber’s screening process will raise questions.

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