Uber banned in Delhi after rape allegation

The authorities have banned the US-based Smart Phone Taxi Booking service after the alleged rape by a driver of a female passenger. The all...

The authorities have banned the US-based Smart Phone Taxi Booking service after the alleged rape by a driver of a female passenger. The allegations first came to light over the weekend after a young lady reported to the police that she had been driven to a remote area of the city and raped by the driver of the taxi.

Apparently, a 26-year-old lady had used her Smart Phone App to book the taxi to take her home on Saturday. After getting into the cab, she dozed off and awoke only to find herself in a secluded area where she was raped. The driver then took her to near her destination and threatened her if she was to report the crime.

Whilst the crime has yet to be proven, the Department of Transport for the city has said that the company has been “blacklisted” for “misleading customers”. The Government issued a statement which stated: "The Transport Department has banned all activities relating to providing any transport service by the www.Uber.com with immediate effect."

The driver of the cab who fled from Delhi to Uttarah Pradesh has been arrested and returned to Delhi. The Police says he will be charged with the rape this week. 

Indian opposition Congress party activists stage protest after the alleged rape of an Uber passenger - image: wired.com
Uber, which had been growing in popularity in India, has been accused of failing to conduct proper background checks after it was widely reported that the driver in question has a previous rape conviction. The ban now means that any car using the Uber service can attract a fine or even be impounded, but the company is still accepting bookings of its service.

Officials are unclear how the ban can be enforced as the taxi’s do not carry any branding; but of course one way would be for officials to book a taxi ride using the Uber App and then take action with the cabbie once he arrives.

Before the ban was announced, Uber described the incident as "horrific" and said it would do everything "to help bring this perpetrator to justice".

"Our entire team's hearts go out to the victim of this despicable crime. We will do everything, I repeat, everything to help bring this perpetrator to justice and to support the victim and her family in her recovery," Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, said in a statement.

He said Uber would "work with the government to establish clear background checks currently absent in their commercial transportation licensing programs".

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