For the working women in New Delhi, allegedly the rape capital of India, stepping out in the night, it seems, has just become harder. As per several media reports, a young woman in New Delhi was allegedly raped by an Uber driver while returning home late Friday night.
A number of media in the country — including Times of India and NDTV — report that a woman was raped sometime between Friday night and the early hours of Saturday after taking an Uber ride home.
The woman, whose age is reported as 25 and 27 by various media, is said to have fallen asleep in the back of the car.
When she woke up to find the car parked in a secluded spot, the driver is then reported to have raped her and, after taking her home, threatened to kill her if she reported the incident.
Currently, the suspected Uber driver is missing
According to reports, he deleted the Uber app from his phone after the incident so as not to be tracked and police claim the phone may not have been registered in the suspect’s name.
Though accounts vary on the woman’s age (one claims she is 25 and the other 27), police note that she managed to take a picture of the driver’s license plate with her phone. Police are currently looking for the suspect.
In a statement to media, Uber did confirm the incident and said that it is working with authorities having already banned the driver:
We became aware of the incident this morning. Safety is Uber’s highest priority and we take situations like this very seriously. We are working with the police as they investigate, and will assist them in any way we can to determine what happened.
It is also our policy to immediately suspend a driver’s account following allegations of a serious incident, which we have done. In India, we work with licensed driver-partners to provide a safe transportation option, with layers of safeguards such as driver and vehicle information, and ETA-sharing to ensure there is accountability and traceability of all trips that occur on the Uber platform.
Uber followed the statement with a tweet from its New Delhi account:
We are deeply disturbed by the reported incident. Our thoughts are with the victim. We are actively and fully cooperating with authorities.— Uber Delhi (@Uber_Delhi) December 6, 2014
However, despite its high-end technology and emphasis on safety, Uber, now valued at over USD40 billion, as Quartz aptly notes in its report, has apparently failed to deliver on its promise and what its Indian customers expect —a safe and reliable cab ride
For those who aren't familiar with the service, Uber is a worldwide cab company that has risen to quick success by using smartphones to connect drivers and riders. It's recently arrived in India, and in a short time, it has come to get much traction, specially among the young.
Its website emphasises that the service is "Uber is New Delhi's best way to request a safe, reliable, and affordable ride within minutes".
Following the reports in the media, several Indian users took to social media to share their concerns and views on the terrible incident:
I prefer cabs over any mode of transport and being a UBER person, I travel a lot with them. Now it scares me a lot to use them too— Rumana (@RumanaNazarali) December 6, 2014
Truly shocking news about a woman being raped by an Uber cab driver. There really seem to be no safe spaces for women in our cities.— Seema Goswami (@seemagoswami) December 6, 2014
If the Delhi police are right and Uber has no details of the driver who raped a passenger then Uber has a lot to answer for. Worrying.— vir sanghvi (@virsanghvi) December 6, 2014
However, this is not the first sexual complaint against an Uber driver
In 2013, an Uber driver in Washington D.C. was arrested for allegedly raping a 20-year-old passenger, though he wasn’t charged.
And more recently, in April this year, an Uber driver in Chicago was charged for fondling a customer.