Uber halts Delhi services to review driver vetting procedures

Uber has suspended its operations in New Delhi, India, so it can conduct a review of its driver vetting and rider feedback mechanisms. This follows the rape of a passenger by an Uber driver and marks a rare occasion on which the taxi firm has done what a local regulator tells it to – the Delhi transport department banned Uber on Monday. In a Thursday blog post, Uber’s India office said it was “implementing measures to ensure that critical rider feedback is escalated immediately and immediate action is taken in every instance,” and “evaluating additional screening options to include background checks on all our driver partners in India above and beyond what is currently required.”

Uber banned in Delhi after alleged rape by driver

Local authorities in the Indian city of Delhi have banned Uber, following the alleged rape of a woman there by an Uber driver. According to the Economic Times of India, the Delhi Transport Commission says Uber’s drivers are offering point-to-point taxi services without the correct licence.

“In this rape case, the victim was provided an All India Permit Taxi which is not allowed to ferry customers point-to-point in the national capital,” transport department commissioner Satish Mathur told the newspaper on Monday. “Uber is not an authorized radio cab service and has been operating illegally.”

According to the piece, the driver was at the time of the incident out on bail, after being arrested over the rape of another passenger in 2011.

Uber chief Travis Kalanick said in a Sunday statement that “what happened over the weekend in New Delhi is horrific” and the company would “do everything, I repeat, everything to help bring this perpetrator to justice and to support the victim and her family in her recovery.”

“We will work with the government to establish clear background checks currently absent in their commercial transportation licensing programs. We will also partner closely with the groups who are leading the way on women’s safety here in New Delhi and around the country and invest in technology advances to help make New Delhi a safer city for women,” Kalanick said.

Meanwhile, a ban on one of Uber’s services has been upheld in the Netherlands. A court in The Hague ruled on Monday that the UberPop “ride-sharing” service was breaking the law because, while it is presented as a carpooling service, its drivers are charging a fee and therefore need a taxi license.

Despite the fact that UberPop drivers face €10,000 ($12,265) fines if they are caught — and indeed, four have already been fined — Uber has promised that it will continue running the service. This is in keeping with the company’s regular encouragement of people to break laws it does not agree with, with no promise that it will pay their fines. Uber itself now faces a €100,000 fine for continuing to run UberPop in the Netherlands.

Uber is also uging drivers to risk fines in the U.S. city of Portland, Oregon, which has declared the service illegal, and in many other cities around the world. Last week Kalanick said in a blog post that he was eager for Uber to become a “more humble company.”

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