An Uber driver named Sri Mithu allegedly threatened to rape one of his passengers on 16 September. When the passengers said they would complain to Uber, the driver laughed and retorted that Uber would only fine him sixteen hundred takas at most.
The two female passengers, who prefer to remain anonymous, informed The Business Standard that they had called Uber for a ride to Bhashantek, a place they do not know very well.
They wanted to go to Bhashantek Police Station but that did not show up on the map in the Uber app, so they had put Bhashantek bazar instead. They requested the Uber driver to drop them in front of the police station, and he had agreed to do so.
By the time they reached Bhashantek bazar, the driver accepted another ride from a person who was waiting nearby. Therefore, the driver refused to take the two women to the police station. Instead, he asked them to get down and take a rickshaw there.
When the passengers said they were going to file a complaint at Uber about his behavior, the driver laughed and said that nothing much happens with complaints. He went on to say that Uber would find him Tk1,600 maximum.
When the passengers said they would contact Uber support, the driver laughed again and said that they could not do so because Uber has closed down the helpline.
Then, he got off the car and called a police officer. He told the policeman that the two ladies in his car were not getting out of the vehicle and that they were refusing to pay the fare.
However, the police officer realized what was going on and spoke in favor of the women.
When the ladies tried to pay the fare, it had doubled from the fare they had been shown in the first place. Therefore, they refused to pay that amount and wanted to pay the amount that the Uber app had shown them at first. The driver, in his anger, verbally abused the women and even tried to pull off the backpack that one of the women was wearing.
The two women left the place in a hurry when the driver started to assault them physically. The driver did not stop there. He started calling them on the cell phone and threatened to rape them.
The ladies kept calm and tried to reach Uber. However, there really was no helpline or even an option to complain about harassment. Still, she filed one from the available options.
Uber later contacted her through the app and told her that they could not get through to her phone number. However, they assured her that they would take action against the driver.
She also heard the Uber driver told the police officer that he had been driving for Uber for five months now, but the Uber app shows his experience to be 1.5 years.
“What steps are they talking about? Is it true that the maximum penalty will be sixteen hundred takas as the driver said? They have even taken off the sexual harassment option from the complaint list. I cannot imagine that drivers can threaten rape now”, said one of the women.
When reaching out to the driver on a cell phone, he firmly denied the allegations against him saying the two ladies had put the location wrong and argued for a long time.
The driver also denied making any threats of rape. The Business Standard, however, has the voice recording of the driver making threats against the ladies.
The driver also claimed that Uber did fine him and on Monday they locked his app. He reportedly had to unlock his app on Tuesday morning after visiting the Uber office in Uttara.